Ahead of Kobe Bryant’s Hall of Fame induction along with the rest of the 2020 Class on Saturday, former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Pau Gasol shared an emotional tribute for his late good friend.
In an interview with Broderick Turner of Los Angeles Times, Gasol opened up about the impact of the Lakers icon not only on the sports world, but also beyond that. He also reflected on their unusual friendship and how Kobe was never the “sentimental guy,” though he still encouraged and motivated his teammates in other ways.
“The way he impacted the world, I think beyond the world of sports … beyond basketball, how he touched so many people, inspired so many people … Kobe went beyond that and above that,” Gasol said.
“He wasn’t much of a sentimental guy, he was like ‘snap out of it … let’s get to it, there’s no time to waste.’ He would try to, I guess, inspire you and encourage you when he needed you to be inspired and encouraged, but he would also try to intimidate you when he wanted to get the better of you.”
Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant won two titles together with the Lakers back in 2009 and 2010. While the two parted ways in 2014 when Gasol became a free agent and signed with the Bulls, they remains close friends over the years.
Sure enough, Gasol was one of the many people who was deeply hurt and shocked after Kobe and his daughter Gianna Bryant suddenly passed away in a tragic helicopter crash in January 2020. He is now a pillar of support for the Bryants, and he remains close to Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, as he continues to be there for the family.
Kobe and Pau have become true brothers, and it is certainly great to see how their relationship grow over the years. It is just really unfortunate Kobe is no longer with us to see himself inducted into the Hall of Fame and share moments with Gasol, his friends and his family.