The relationship between Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant was really tight. They won two championships together with the Los Angeles Lakers, creating one of the best duos in the league, dominating the competition in back-to-back seasons.
They used to push each other to reach the next level and Kobe used some interesting tactics to spark the fire inside Gasol. Back in April, the Spaniard big man recalled the nicknames he received from his Lakers teammates, especially Kobe.
"They gave me two [nicknames]," Gasol told La Resistencia, via Marca. "[The first one was] the 'Spaniard' from [the movie] Gladiator, and they were playing the movie soundtrack and everything.
"Kobe called me Pablo."Kobe always tried to get my inner fire out and he called me Pablo because of Pablo Escobar.
"Not because he was a drug trafficker, but because of that murderous instinct.
"To [help me] get that aggressiveness, he compared me to him."
Well, it worked. Gasol was the right partner for Kobe in 2009 and 2010, when the Lakers won two straight titles against the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics, respectively.
They bonded deeply. Proof of that is Gasol spending some quality time with Kobe's daughters, as Vanessa Bryant posted on Monday. His relationship with the family remains strong.