Surrounded by friends and former colleagues and visibly moved, the one from Sant Boi announced his retirement at the Liceo de Barcelona
The golden age of Spanish sport seems a little more distant since yesterday. One of the colossi, as much as its height, announced its withdrawal. Pau Gasol, the man who taught all basketball fans in Spain that those North American players were from this planet and not from another and therefore could be beaten on a court, will no longer give lessons on the parquet.
In a setting at the height, imposing and “very special” for him, like the Liceo de Barcelona. Opera musical background and as assistants his relatives, including his wife, his daughter and his brother Marc, with a sporting future still to be resolved, former teammates such as Jorge Garbajosa, now president of the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB), or Felipe Reyes, as well as the staff of the Barcelona basketball section, including the president of the club, Joan Laporta, his great friend and colleague Juan Carlos Navarro, manager, and Sarunas Jasikevicius, current coach of the Barça team.
Thus the legend appeared before the media to announce full of emotion that he is leaving. He does so with the joy of having been able to say goodbye on the court, with his usual club, Barça, and with that “family” that is the Spanish basketball team. «Very few doctors believed that I could play again, but I am a person of challenges and I wanted to fight for the improbable. I had the illusion of playing one day in front of my little girl », the one from Sant Boi revealed about his long recovery process and the motivations that led him to fight the unspeakable to return. «He was very calm. If my career had ended then I was at peace. Speaking with Juan Carlos (Navarro) and Saras (Jasikevicius) then the possibility of signing for Barça was presented, which I did not foresee. Very happy with a stage that has been one of the most beautiful in my career and then with the national team it was very special although we could not win a medal, “he added regarding the final stretch of his career, a kind of return to the origins to close the season. circle.
«Throughout a career you work with many people. As a young man they told me that the important thing is not to get there but to stay and I have not only tried to stay, but also to be better, “he explained about his philosophy of life applied to sport, so important to understand why he has arrived where he has arrived and edifying for those who will be the athletes of the future. True to his style, always elegant, he appreciated the support of fans, sponsors and all the people who have been important throughout more than two decades of his career.
He sighed before starting, as the challenge was perhaps more difficult and imposing than any of the hundreds of games he has played. He remembered his first coaches, recalling as if it were yesterday training and exercises that began to forge a figure without which current Spanish basketball could not be understood. His debut at Barça led by Aíto García Reneses and the figure of a coach who also showed him the importance of training beyond the field. Coaches like Phil Jackson or Gregg Popovich, two of the best in history. Those basketball fights with his brother Marc, who traveled from the patio of his house to the initial jump of an All-Star, in an already iconic image.
He also had words for Navarro and Kobe Bryant, his two great basketball friends, the first the man who taught him “the concept of friendship” and the second an “older brother” who left too soon. “Life is sometimes unfair,” he said, visibly moved. That moment and the mention of his family, completely displaced to Memphis when he took the big step into the NBA, were the emotional climax of such a special day for every player.
Now, the Spanish basketball colossus has to undertake new directions. He intends to diversify his new challenges, although for now more focused on the executive side than on the management from the bench. That will already be a new story.