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Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol announces his retirement from the sport during a press conference at the Liceu Theatre in Barcelona, Spain, on Oct. 5. Photo: Getty Images/Victor Salgado. 
Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol announces his retirement from the sport during a press conference at the Liceu Theatre in Barcelona, Spain, on Oct. 5. Photo: Getty Images/Victor Salgado. 

Pau Gasol, greatest professional basketball player to come out of Spain, announces retirement

Gasol played 18 seasons in the NBA, winning two championships, and played his final year of professional basketball with FC Barcelona. 

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Pau Gasol announced during a special conference at the Liceu Theatre in Barcelona, Spain, on Oct. 5 that he will be retiring from the game of basketball.

This marks the end of a basketball career that has spanned more than two decades, filled with numerous accolades and achievements. 

Gasol, 41, played 18 seasons in the NBA for five different teams (Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks). He won two NBA championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, playing a pivotal role in winning those back-to-back titles.

He was also named to six NBA All-Star Teams, four All-NBA teams, and won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2002, a season in which he averaged 17.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.1 blocks per game.

Gasol was originally drafted to the NBA in 2001 NBA Draft, selected as the No. 3 overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks, before immediately being traded to the Grizzlies. He played the first 6 ½ seasons of his career in Memphis before being traded to the Lakers in 2008. He spent the next 6 ½ seasons with the Lakers, before leaving as a free agent to the Bulls for two seasons. 

His career averages in the NBA are 17.0 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, 3.2 assists per game, and 1.6 blocks per game. 

He played his final professional basketball season with FC Barcelona, where he began his basketball career in his native country, Spain in 1998.  

In addition to his many NBA accomplishments, Gasol also carved out quite the résumé during his international and Olympic careers, as well. 

Perhaps his most prominent achievement was winning a gold medal in the 2006 World Cup. He won three additional gold medals in the European Basketball Championship games in 2009, 2011 and 2015. 

In his Olympic career, Gasol won a silver medal during the 2008 and 2012 games, respectively, and a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics. 

Gasol had previously announced the end of his international basketball career after Spain was eliminated from quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics this past August, his fifth Olympic games. 

Overall, Gasol has etched his legacy as inarguably the greatest and most accomplished professional basketball player to ever come out of Spain. 

Just hours after his retirement announcement, the Lakers announced its plans to retire Gasol’s No. 16 jersey. He would become the 11th player in franchise history to receive the honor, and first since his former teammate, the late, great Kobe Bryant had both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys retired in 2017. 

Gasol stated that he hopes to stay involved in the sport as an advisor for FC Barcelona, and as a member of the Advisory Council of Spanish Sport and the International Olympic Committee. 

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