Pau Gasol Recognizes Kobe Bryant as ‘One of the Best Ever’ Ahead of Retirement

November 30th, 2015 by Sean Highkin Leave a reply »

CHICAGO — In his foreword to Caron Butler’s recently released memoir, Tuff Juice, Kobe Bryant revealed that over the course of his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, there have been just four teammates that he considers friends. Butler was one of them, as were Derek Fisher, Ronny Turiaf and, most notably, Pau Gasol.

The Lakers’ midseason trade for Gasol in 2008 radically transformed their fortunes as a franchise, as well as Bryant’s own legacy. Gasol was the missing piece to a talented core—a second star and a perfect complementary player to Bryant. After the trade, the Lakers made the NBA Finals in 2008 and won back-to-back titles the following two seasons.

Since Sunday evening, when Bryant made the announcement that the 2015-16 season will be his last, tributes and memories have poured in from all corners of the NBA—from former teammates, coaches, opponents and even commissioner Adam Silver.

Like most people, Gasol had no heads-up before Bryant’s announcement on the Players’ Tribune. He found out with the rest of the world, but knowing Bryant as well as he did, the ...

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