The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that Pau Gasol will be getting his No. 16 jersey retired by the historic franchise. Gasol was crucial to the 2009 and 2010 championships won by the Lakers, being the second option for the team behind Kobe Bryant. Gasol was acquired by the Lakers in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, which ironically sent Pau's brother Marc to the Grizzlies.
Gasol's contributions to the Lakers can never be forgotten, with even Kobe Bryant having said before that the Lakers wouldn't win the 2009 and 2010 titles without Gasol. Bryant had also expressed that Pau deserved to have his number retired.
However, many people do think the Lakers could approach this differently. The franchise is one of the most successful of all time and has the greatest players in the history of the game wearing their uniforms. Max Kellerman pointed out how Pau's name doesn't stand as big as the others, but is worthy of being up in the rafters with the likes of Shaq, Kobe, Kareem, Magic, and others.
“The problem with the Lakers is that you can do two Mt. Rushmores and still be like, ‘man, we’re leaving so many people out.’ Pau has no case to be on a Mt. Rushmore for the Lakers, but on another franchise, he might be. So, for the Lakers, you’re like 'he’s not Kareem, he’s not Magic, he’s not Kobe, he’s not Shaq, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West.' Most teams, though, find four guys as good as Pau.”
Gasol averaged 17.7 points and 9.9 rebounds over his 7 seasons with the Lakers, becoming a 2-time champion in the process. He is a multi-time All-Star and All-NBA player, proving that he is one of the all-time greats of the sport.
The standard in LA is extremely high for what team legends need to achieve before gaining that status. Gasol helped the Lakers after watching Kobe struggle to get them to the promised land for years without Shaq. Every great player needs a running mate and Pau was the perfect running teammate and the model teammate. His jersey retirement is well-deserved.