Pau Gasol enjoys the Hall of Fame: “It has always been very special to feel the love and support of Spain”


Former Spanish player Pau Gasol highlighted this Friday that “it has always been very special to feel the love and support of Spain” throughout his sporting career, enshrined this weekend with his entry into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, in company of other illustrious figures such as the German Dirk Nowitzki and the French Tony Parker.

“It was always a great pride for me to play for my national team. I think it has benefited me enormously to be called up every summer and play with my teammates. It has always meant something very special from the first day to feel the love and support of my country, always I’ve tried to make them proud,” Gasol said during a Hall of Fame press conference in Springfield.

“Even when I came to the United States, expectations were very high after being chosen so highly. [en el Draft]. I just wanted to make my country proud and more children excited, to do something special,” commented the power forward from Sant Boi, a member of the class of 2023 in a list of authentic pomp.

In addition to the Europeans Gasol, Nowitzki and Parker, the Americans Dwyane Wade and Becky Hammon will also be enshrined along with Gene Bess, Gary Blair, David Hixon, Gene Keady, Jim Valvano, the 1976 US women’s team and the current coach of the San Antonio Spurs, the veteran and multi-award winning Gregg Popovich.

Among the merits of the Catalan are two champion rings, six appearances in the All-Star Game, the Rookie of the Year award in the 2001/02 academic year (playing for the Memphis Grizllies) and four appearances in one of the best quintets in the season. In addition, the Los Angeles Lakers withdrew his shirt with the number 16 on March 7.

“You don’t start playing basketball when you’ve already done it and you don’t say, ‘I want to be a Hall of Famer.’ You just try to be the best you can be, be a great teammate and win championships. If you do that, everything fit”, explained Gasol, who also valued the progress of the Europeans in the largest professional American League.

“For European basketball, I think this promotion is an incredible achievement; and for international basketball as well. I think the game has grown a lot since we started playing. We can be very proud to have taken the international game to a higher level. and very proud to see how the current players are taking it to a higher level”, argued the Catalan athlete.

By saying emotional, he admitted as something “very special” for him to “share” the consecration in the Hall of Fame with Nowitzki and with Parker, “because it is wonderful” after so many battles on the courts of the NBA and also of the ‘Old Continent’. “It’s something that couldn’t even be imagined not long ago,” added the man from Sant Boi.

On the other hand, Gasol recalled his friendship with the late Kobe Bryant, his former teammate in the Los Angeles Lakers for several years of success. “My relationship with Kobe was very, very special. I have many good memories on and off the field. Chasing championships requires having that special advantage,” he said about his complicity.

“From the moment I arrived [a Los Ángeles], There was no time to lose. I went to make sure he knew it from the beginning and he was great because he seemed sincere. It was like ‘oh, this guy has been here forever.’ And that was a connection for me, inside and out,” he stressed about his signing by the Lakers, where he won two NBA titles.

“And to be playing with the guys all season… Everyone was welcome there. It was the right time and the right place, and beautiful things happened. The relationship with Kobe was very, very special in my life, for me and for me. family,” he insisted. “Sometimes, sure, when you’re in title-chasing mode, it takes time to come out, but when we loosen up a bit and try to connect more on a personal level, I remember those moments deeply and cherish them.”

Finally, Gasol highlighted that “it is beautiful to see, show and share a message that things are possible, that things change, things get better, things are exciting and allow any child, boy or girl, to dream and think that they can do it too.” “So that’s the exciting part for me,” the Catalan concluded.