Lakers Legend And Champion To Coach Rising Stars At Upcoming NBA All-Star Weekend
A future Hall of Famer will rep LA in Utah.
Retired power forward/center Pau Gasol, who helped lead your Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive NBA Finals from 2008-2010, winning in ’09 and ’10, is going to make his presence felt at the league’s upcoming 2023 All-Star Weekend.
The 7’1″ big man, a six-time All-Star in his day, announced that he will coach one of the four seven-man teams during the Rising Stars Game on Friday, February 17th, starting at 6 p.m. PT. His former Chicago Bulls teammate, Joakim Noah (a two-time All-Star and the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year), will coach another, as will former Utah Jazz/Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams, a four-time All-Star.
Gasol took to Twitter to celebrate the good news with an inspirational message, which is kind of his brand:
Gasol was selected with the third pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001, and immediately established himself as one of the premier players in his draft class. He was voted the 2001-02 Rookie of the Year, and played on several competitive Grizz clubs that ultimately fizzled out early in the playoffs. Eventually, he was shipped out to the Lakers at the 2008 deadline, and instantly made an impact, creating an incredible on-court unity with 2008 MVP shooting guard Kobe Bryant. Gasol would remain in LA until the 2014-15 season, when he signed with a solid Chicago Bulls team led by Jimmy Butler, Noah and Derrick Rose, in the hopes of winning his third NBA title.
His 50-win Bulls would be knocked out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by future Laker LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Gasol also enjoyed stints with the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks, before foot issues forced him to sit out the entire 2019-20 season. Gasol then returned to Spanish EuroLeague club FC Barcelona, his first pro team (from 1998-2001), for that club’s 2021 season before finally retiring, aged 40. He has been nominated for the 2023 Basketball Hall of Fame class.
Through 1226 career NBA games (1150 starts), Gasol holds averages of 17 points on .507/.368/.753 shooting splits, 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 blocks. Ben Pickman of Sports Illustrated reports that Gasol is one of just four players to ever score at least 20,000 points, pull down at least 11,000 rebounds, dish out at least 3,500 assists and stuff at least 1,500 blocks. The other three? Oh, just some guys named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. No big deal.
Gasol’s No. 16 jersey will be retired by the Lakers on March 7th, when LA plays another longtime Gasol home, the Grizzlies.