The Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday retired Spanish legend Pau Gasol’s jersey in a halftime ceremony.
The two-time NBA champion’s No. 16 jersey was lifted to the rafters by his former franchise during halftime, in a game they won 112-103 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
“I think I’ve done as good as I could to really embrace it and savor it, but tonight really exceeds any dream or expectation that I’ve had,” Gasol said in an emotional manner, adding: “It means so much, and obviously with Kobe up there, it just adds something meaningful and powerful and sad and happy and painful and joyful. It’s a lot of things.”
“I’m just overwhelmed to see the faces here, all of you. It’s been my honor to wear this jersey, to play for this franchise and to help this team. … I would have never in a million years believed a day like this could come. It just tells you to never say never. Just push yourself every day to be the best that you can be,” the 42-year-old also said.
Gasol’s jersey became the 13th jersey number retired by LA Lakers, including Gasol’s then-team mate Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and 24 jerseys.
Gasol, who joined the Los Angeles Lakers in February 2008, reached three straight NBA Finals with the franchise, winning two of them, in 2009 and 2010.