Pau Gasol has officially retired from professional basketball.

The Spanish legend, who calls it quits at the age of 41, paid tribute at a press conference in Spain to all the people who have helped him over four decades, including team-mates in the NBA, Europe and in international competition, and an extensive list of those who had influenced him.

Gasol, who played his final club season with FC Barcelona, took his bow at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“It is a difficult decision,” he said. “But it is considered, I wanted to end up playing and enjoying it, not on crutches due to an injury.”

He teared up when talking about his late Los Angeles Lakers colleague Kobe Bryant, saying “I really wish he had been here. But that is life… he truly taught me what it means to be a winner.

And there were emotions in thanking his parents who followed him to the USA to support his NBA ambitions.

A three-time Olympic medallist and a world champion, Gasol won two NBA titles and was named an All Star six times during 19 seasons Stateside, to complement his three Spanish League crowns, including on his farewell in 2021.

The Lakers will retire his Number 16 jersey, it was confirmed.



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