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“He Will Have His Number in the Rafters Next to Mine”: Validation From Kobe Bryant Leaves an Emotional Pau Gasol Speechless

Published 05/14/2020, 5:00 PM EDT

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Kobe Bryant may have been a player who kept to himself in the NBA, however, the friendships he had were special. They were so pure, that months after his death, his friends still honor and grieve Bryant.

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Recently, Kobe’s one such good friend, Pau Gasol, watched and reacted to a video of his late buddy. And we were all left in tears.

Pau Gasol tears up while watching Kobe Bryant


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Recently, ESPN posted a video on YouTube, where they sat down with former Laker Pau Gasol and watched an old Kobe Bryant video.

The video was a throwback clip of Bryant acknowledging Gasol’s place in Los Angeles Lakers history. In the video, Kobe also addressed his former partner’s contribution towards winning back-to-back championships for the Los Angeles Lakers.


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Bryant also gave Gasol credits for the 2009 and 2010 Larry O’Brien Trophy win.


Bryant believed Pau’s jersey should retire along with his. Retiring the jersey number of an athlete is an honor a team awards a player. A player receives this honor usually after he has either left the team or retired from the sport.

Hence, Kobe’s firm belief that Pau’s number should retire with his really touched the Spanish athlete’s heart.

“There’s no debate. Pau, when he retires, he will have his number in the rafters next to mine,” Bryant said in the video.

“The reality is, I don’t win those championships without Pau. The city of L.A. doesn’t have those championships without Pau Gasol. We know that, everybody knows that, and I really look forward to the day that he’s there giving his speech at center court in front of all of the fans that have supported him over the years. It’s going to be an awesome night.”

When ESPN’s Omar Raja showed the video to Gasol, it left the former Laker stunned and speechless.

“I guess happy and appreciative,” Gasol said as he struggled to compose himself, when asked how he felt about Bryant’s kind words and validation.


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We don’t blame Gasol. Being friends with Kobe Bryant is one thing and receiving such high levels of praise from the legend is another. Even if it is now up to the Lakers franchise to do what they will about Pau’s jersey number, Kobe sure gave the cause an upwards boost.

Kobe Bryant died in a tragic helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others on board.



Maitreyee Joshi

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