When Kobe Bryant Showed Up to Pau Gasol’s Room at 1:30 AM to Welcome Him to the Lakers

Published 10/06/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
(Orlando, Florida – Sunday, June 14, 2009) Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant share a warm embrace at center court as they realize victory is certain over the Magic in game five of the NBA Finals at Amway Arena. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


The two-time NBA champion, Pau Gasol, announced his retirement from basketball on Thursday. And with this, the league has begun to reminisce about his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers and teammate Kobe Bryant. They won two consecutive championships (2009 and 2010) together that upgraded Pau’s status as a veteran star.

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Before joining hands with the Lakers, Pau was playing for the Memphis Grizzlies for seven seasons. However, it wasn’t the best of times for the youngster in the league. Packing his bags to LA, was one of Pau’s best decisions during his professional career. From there on, Kobe and Pau became a talked-about duo across seasons, and they put up tremendous performances for their fans at the Staples Center.

Lakers’ (l to r) Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant and Shannon Brown during the game. LA Lakers vs San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on Apr. 12, 2011. (Photo by Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant welcomed Pau Gasol as a teammate before his trade to the Lakers

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In the event of Pau Gasol’s retirement, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne shared an anecdote of how they ended up on the same side of the court. It’s one of the all-time great stories of the NBA.

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Ramona narrated on ‘The Jump’ – “Kobe and his family were on vacation in Barcelona in the summer, 2007. And Pau Gasol just happened to be working out at the hotel gym. They bumped into each other. Kobe’s not happy in LA, Pau’s not happy in Memphis, Kobe says maybe we’ll play together one day”

It was just a matter of a couple of months and Kobe’s wish came true. Gasol was traded by Memphis Grizzlies to the Lakers. The night Pau got traded and he was finishing up with his physical tests, Kobe knocked on his door at 1:30 in the morning. And guess what Kobe Bryant had to say to Pau Gasol that time? He said, “It’s great to have you here, welcome to the team. Now, let’s go win a championship.”

Well, winning was all that was on Kobe’s mind all the time. Popularly known for the term, Mamba mentality, a lot of players even today believe in the same.

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Lakers No.16 is expected to retire at STAPLES Center

Pau’s officially departing the league after having played last for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2019.

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Lakers Pau Gasol is fouled by Thunders Russell Westbrook in Game 5 of the Western Conference Playoffs Monday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The good news is that the Lakers intend to retire his No. 16 jersey to appreciate his time at LA. With this, he will become the 11th Lakers player with his jersey on the rafters. Other notable stars include Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and others.

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Pavni Ahuja

531 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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