BARCELONA (Reuters) – Legendary Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol announced on Tuesday that he is retiring after a 23-year career.
“I’m here to tell you that I will retire from professional basketball. It’s a difficult decision after so many years, but a decision I made carefully,” said Gasol, 41, at a press conference at the Liceu theater in Barcelona.
Gasol, who is 2.16 meters tall, made his professional debut in 1998 as a center for Barcelona and was signed by the Americans Memphis Grizzlies in 2001.
He won United States National Basketball Association (NBA) titles with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010 and was cast in the league’s All-Star Game on six occasions.
Later, Gasol played with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs and spent a short stint with the Milwaukee Bucks, plus four months with the Portland Trail Blazers, where an injury prevented him from playing.
He returned to Barcelona earlier this year, helping his youth team end a seven-year wait for the Spanish league title in June.
Gasol has been a talisman for Spain, helping the team win the Olympic silver medal at the 2008 and 2012 Games and bronze in 2016.
He has bounced back from nearly two years out of injury and competed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in which the Spaniards lost in the quarter-finals to eventual US champions in their last international appearance.
At the press conference, Gasol also paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
“I wish he had been here today, but sometimes life is unfair,” he said.
(By Richard Martin)
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