Pau Gasol recalls bond with Kobe Bryant in emotional Hall of Fame speech: ‘Elevated my game like no other’

Pau Gasol is aware of that his two NBA championships wouldn’t have come with out the late Kobe Bryant by his aspect on the courtroom. Gasol recalled their bond as he was inducted into the Basketball Corridor of Fame on Saturday evening in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Gasol mentioned Bryant, who died alongside along with his daughter, Gianna, and others in a helicopter crash in 2020, “elevated my recreation like no different.” And it started instantly when the Memphis Grizzlies traded him to the Lakers through the 2007-2008 season.

He shared an anecdote that spoke to Bryant’s starvation for successful NBA championships the evening that Gasol was traded. Gasol was despatched to Washington, D.C., to fulfill up with the Lakers, and because it was late at evening and Los Angeles’ recreation was at midday the following day, he didn’t suppose he’d be assembly his teammates till the morning. 


Pau Gasol smiles with award

Pau Gasol is proven on the Basketball Corridor of Fame induction ceremony on August 12, 2023, in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE through Getty Photos)

Bryant, although, wished to remain as much as meet his new middle.

“He was texting me, saying, ‘Hey, I want to come by your room, and I want to welcome you, want to say hello, want to welcome you to the team,'” Gasol said. “I said, ‘It’s going to be late. It’s going to be like previous 1 a.m. You certain you don’t need to anticipate tomorrow?’”


Bryant, in fact, insisted that he and Gasol communicate. Gasol mentioned that successful was the subject of dialog, recalling that Bryant was “straight to the chase,” to which Gasol replied, “I’m in.”

Gasol and Bryant would create a dynamic duo that made it to the NBA Finals three years straight, successful back-to-back in 2009 and 2010.

“I do know some individuals within the league have been upset concerning the commerce, but it surely occurred, proper, and that’s the place I bought to know the one that elevated my recreation like no different,” Gasol mentioned. “Who taught me what it took to win on the highest degree. Who confirmed me how exhausting you needed to work and the mentality you wanted to have in an effort to be the very best. The dedication you needed to make. What it meant, and what it took, to be a frontrunner.”

Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant pose with trophies

Pau Gasol #16 and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers pose for a portrait after defeating the Orlando Magic in Sport 5 of the 2009 NBA Finals at Amway Area on June 14, 2009, in Orlando, Florida. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE through Getty Photos)

Gasol spent six-plus seasons working alongside Bryant and a stacked Lakers squad previous to becoming a member of the Chicago Bulls earlier than the 2014-2015 marketing campaign. Gasol’s seven seasons with the Lakers produced 17.7 factors per recreation with 9.9 rebounds and three.5 assists over 429 contests.

“I wouldn’t be right here with out you, brother,” Gasol mentioned of Bryant“I want greater than something that you simply and [Gianna] have been right here at the moment with us. I miss you and love you. Thanks.”

Gasol additionally thanked Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s spouse, for being in attendance on Saturday evening.

Gasol was a six-time All-Star, three of which got here in a Lakers uniform. Over 18 seasons within the league, he averaged 17 factors, 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and shot 50.7% from the sphere.

Pau Gasol reacts to crowd

Pau Gasol speaks through the Basketball Corridor of Fame induction ceremony at Symphony Corridor on August 12, 2023, in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Mike Lawrie/Getty Photos)


He was inducted into the Corridor of Fame alongside Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich and Becky Harman.

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