The Life and Career of the Spanish GOAT, Pau Gasol.
It is very rare that a European player makes it big in the NBA. We have only seen a handful of these players over the last decade. One of these players retired last year.
Gasol played in the NBA between 2001-2019, with a year playing professional basketball in Spain on either side of this.
Gasol has been hugely popular here and over the pond not just because of his incredible basketball skills but because of his commitment to making the world a better place – including donating to charities and advocating for female coaches in the NBA.
Gasol is a former Rookie of the Year, a two-time NBA champion, has won Olympic medals for his national team, and has scored over 20,000 during his NBA career.
Today, we are going to look at the life and career of the NBA legend, Pau Gasol.
On July 6, 1980, Pao Gasol was born in Barcelona, Spain. His mother was a doctor and his father was a nurse – they were both over 6 feet tall and played basketball in organized leagues.
The first sport that Gasol took up was rugby but he eventually swapped it for football and basketball. He eventually narrowed in on basketball. He was a shy and well-behaved child who was the most vocal player on the court.
Gasol was obsessed with basketball and had thought about playing the sport professionally. However, when Magic Johnson announced his HIV status, Gasol swore that he would become a doctor and find a cure for the disease.
He made it one year into medical school before starting to play for FC Barcelona full-time.
Gasol had played for Barcelona’s junior team from the age of 16 and he also played for the junior national team with whom he won the 1998 Albert Schweitzer Tournament and the 1998 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship.
He played for Barcelona between 1998 and 2001. In 2001, Barcelona won the Copa del Rey de Baloncesto (the Spanish equivalent of the NBA Finals), and Gasol was named player of the tournament.
Because of his success in this tournament, he was able to enter the NBA Draft in 2001.
The NBA Years
Pau Gasol entered the NBA Draft in 2001.
Gasol was picked third overall in the draft and was traded to the Grizzlies.
He played all 82 games in his first season, averaged 17.6 points and 8.9 rebounds, and was named to the First Rookie Team. He became the first foreign player to be named Rookie of the Year that season.
He played 240 games in a row before missing one because of a foot injury in his third season. By 2005, he became the 10th fastest player to achieve career 5,000 points and 500 blocks.
In his seven seasons with the Grizzlies, they only made it to the playoffs three times and never made it past the first round.
In 2006, he was called up to the All-Stars for the first time. He was the first Grizzlies player ever to be invited and the first Spanish All-Star too.
In 2008, he transferred to the Lakers. His brother Marc was part of the trade deal. Marc played for the Grizzlies for 11 years and now plays in Spain.
Los Angeles Lakers
During his debut game for the Lakers, Gasol scored 24 and 12 rebounds. Gasol played a huge part in the Lakers ending 57-25 that season. At the time it was the franchise’s best-ever performance.
The Lakers went on to win the NBA Finals in 2009 and 2010. Many put these victories down to the chemistry that Gasol and Kobe Bryant had on the court. In 2009, Gasol scored his 10,000 career point and was invited back to play for the All-Stars. He played for them in 2010 and 2011 as well.
Gasol had a poor 2011 postseason and many Lakers fans wanted him traded to another team. Gasol spent 3 more years with the team before being sent to the Bulls at the end of the 2014 season.
Gasol had an incredibly high-scoring period with the Chicago Bulls, but he did not win any silverware with them.
While with the Bulls, he became the 38th NBA player to reach 10,000 career rebounds. He also became the 36th with 10,000 points and 10,000 rebounds.
San Antonio Spurs
During his time with the Spurs, Gasol reached the 20,000 career points mark. He played well for the Spurs but his tenure was marred by injuries.
Despite this, he became the 34th player in NBA history to play 40,000 career minutes while playing for the Spurs.
This year the Bucks are in the bookies’ top 5 to win the NBA finals – find the best NBA odds here.
Gasol only ended up playing 3 games for the Bucks before getting injured. He then moved back to Spain and in the next year won a few trophies with FC Barcelona.