Former Grizzlies standout, NBA champion Pau Gasol announces retirement

Evan Barnes
Memphis Commercial Appeal
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After 19 seasons, two NBA championships and a career that began in Memphis, Pau Gasol announced his retirement from professional basketball.

"I'm going to retire from professional basketball," Gasol said during a retirement announcement at an opera house in Barcelona on Tuesday. "It's a difficult decision after so many years, but it's a decision that I really thought over."

Gasol, 41, was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks then traded his draft rights to the Grizzlies along with Brevin Knight and Lorenzen Wright, which led to Gasol becoming one of the first stars in the Memphis era of the franchise .

Gasol had an immediate impact as the league's Rookie of the Year, becoming the first player in Grizzlies history to win an individual award. He helped lead the Grizzlies  to their first postseason appearance in 2004 and two years later, he became the first All-Star in franchise history.

February 27, 2006  - Memphis Grizzlies Pau Gasol cheers on his teamates during the game against the Washington Wizards Monday, February 27, 2006 game at the FedExForum.  Gasol led the scoring with a career high 39 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots.

In seven seasons, he averaged 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds in Memphis. He remains fourth all-time in franchise history in scoring (8,966 points), third in rebounds (4,096), fifth in assists (1,473) and second in blocks (877).

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He was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers during the midseason of the 2007-08 campaign in a deal that changed the fortunes of both franchises. While Gasol won two championships with the Lakers, the Grizzlies received his younger brother Marc, who became one of the cornerstones of the "Grit and Grind" era during his 11 seasons in Memphis.

Gasol last played in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2019. Gasol had been with Spanish club Barcelona since February. 

Pau Gasol could also be the first NBA player to enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame that spent a significant portion of his career with the Grizzlies. His resume includes six All-Star berths, four All-NBA selections with the Lakers, two Olympic silver medals (2008, 2012) with the Spanish men's national basketball team and a bronze medal in 2016.

But in Memphis, he'll be remembered as one of the building blocks of a franchise that relocated from Vancouver 20 years ago. The Grizzlies made three consecutive postseason trips from 2004-06 with Gasol and in doing so, helped establish the team in Memphis while laying the foundation that the "Grit and Grind" era built upon.

This story is developing and will be updated

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You can reach Evan Barnes on Twitter (@Evan_B) or by email at [email protected]

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