Pau Gasol, 42, the venerable power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, received professional basketball’s highest honor today. Gasol, Dwayne Wade, Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, Becky Hammon and Gregg Popovich headlined the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023 inductees.
It’s been quite the year for Gasol, a beloved member of the Laker family, who recently had his No. 16 Laker jersey retired next to his former teammate and long-time friend, the late Kobe Bryant. During the 2023 NBA All-Star weekend, Gasol received the Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award and he is the recipient of the Bob Lanier Community Impact Award.
He expressed his gratitude upon receiving news of his Hall of Fame honor:
“It’s hard to believe but extremely exciting. I am immensely honored by this recognition and to be a part of this class,” Gasol said.
Pau Gasol Has Jersey Retired as Lakers Defeat Grizzlies
King/Drew Football Contend in Inaugural Season
Born Pau Gasol Sáez in Barcelona, Spain, Gasol played six seasons for the Lakers. He was a core member of the Lakers 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 NBA Championship teams.
He began his professional NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks, a first-round pick in the 2001 draft. He received the 2001-2002 Rookie of the Year as a player with the Memphis Grizzlies (2001-2008). Gasol was the first non-American player to win the award. He also played with the Chicago Bulls (2014-2016), the San Antonio Spurs (2016-2019), and the Milwaukee Bucks (2018-2019).
Gasol finished his career with an impressive list of honors and statistics; he played in a career total of 1,226 games and scored 20,894 points, 11,305 rebounds, 3,925 assists, 606 steals, and 1,941 blocks. He played in six All-Star games, was named to four All-NBA teams, played in 12 NBA playoffs games, and ranks ninth and eighth of all-time in offensive and defensive rebounds for the Lakers.
Internationally, Gasol is the EuroBasketball’s (aka Eurobasket) All-time leading scorer, having won three championship titles. He holds the MVP titles for the 2009 and 2015 FIBA European Basketball Championship games. He is a three-time Olympic medalist for the Spanish International team, receiving two silver and one bronze medal. In 2021, Gasol was named to the International Olympic Committee.
Other members selected in the 2023 Hall of Fame class include:
13-time All-Star, 3-time NBA Champion, and 2006 Finals MVP, Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat).
14-time All-Star, 2006-07 MVP, 2007 Finals MVP, and 2011 NBA Champion, Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks).
6-time All-Star, 4-time NBA Champion, and 2007 Finals MVP Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs).
6-time WNBA All-Star and reigning WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces Coach Becky Hammon.
The winningest coach in NBA history, Gregg Popovich, has five NBA titles and was the Olympic Gold Medal team coach at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
1983 NCAA Men’s National Champion and two-time ACC Tournament Champion, the late head coach Jim Valvano (North Carolina State University).
7-time Big 10 Coach of the Year Gene Keady (Purdue University).
1996 Olympic Gold Medal Coach, U.S. Women’s team, and 2011 NCAA Women’s Tournament Champion Gary Blair (Texas A&M).
2-time D-3 National Champion and Coach of the Year David Hixon (Amherst).
All-time winningest college basketball coach Gene Bess (Three Rivers Community College).
The 1976 Women’s Olympic Basketball Team – Silver medalists in the inaugural appearance for Women’s Olympic Basketball.
The 2023 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement will occur in Springfield, MA, on August 12, 2023.