By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Six-time NBA All-Star Pau Gasol announced his retirement from professional basketball on Tuesday in a press conference at an opera house in Barcelona. Gasol won back-to-back championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, as well as a gold medal with Spain’s national team in the 2006 FIBA World Championship.

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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“Pau Gasol is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished players of his generation. A two-time NBA champion, six-time NBA All-Star, three-time Olympic medalist and world champion, Pau inspired countless fans through his remarkable skill and passion for the game,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement posted on Twitter. “But what sets Pau apart is his tireless commitment to giving back to his native Spain and other communities around the world, which he continues to make a priority. We congratulate Pau on an outstanding career and thank him for being such a dedicated ambassador for our league.”

Gasol was traded to the Lakers in February 2008 and made an immediate impact helping the Lakers reach three consecutive NBA Finals.

“Pau Gasol brought hope and talent to the Lakers,” former coach Phil Jackson said in a statement to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “The effect was immediate. His game put LA back into championship contention. He was also a gentleman and generous hero.”

Gasol formed a special relationship with Kobe Bryant who had previously struggled to get along with his former superstar teammate Shaquille O’Neal.

“I want to make a special mention to Kobe Bryant. I’d very much like him to be here but that’s life,” said Gasol during his retirement press conference. “He taught me how to be a better leader, better competitor, what it mean to be a winner.”

Gasol spoke about their close friendship following Bryant and his daughter Gianna’s tragic death in January 2020.

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(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

“I miss you, hermano…not a day goes by that you are not present in what I do,” said Gasol. “Your spirit, your drive, your ambition, your love…continues to shine in my life and in many others.”

Gasol, 41, announced his retirement from international basketball in August after Spain lost to the United States in the quarterfinals at the Olympics. He rejoined Barcelona, the club he played for as a teenager before being selected No. 3 overall in the 2001 NBA draft, in February after not playing for nearly two years because of a  left-foot stress fracture.

“I’m going to retire from professional basketball,” Gasol said. “It’s a difficult decision after so many years, but it’s a decision that I really thought over.”

Gasol is one of just four players in NBA history with more than 20,000 points, 11,000 rebounds, 3,500 assists and 1,500 blocks, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.

Lakers Owner Jeanie Buss wasted no time stating on Twitter that “it was never a matter of IF we will retire [number] 16 but WHEN. Congratulations on your retirement @paugasol #StayTuned #LakersLove.”

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Gasol will become the 11th player in franchise history to have his jersey retired and the first since Kobe Bryant had his No. 8 and No. 24 retired in 2017.