Pau Gasol: “Reaching the Hall of Fame is a unique feeling that is hard to describe” | sports

Pau Gasol: “Reaching the Hall of Fame is a unique feeling that is hard to describe” |  sports
Pau Gasol during the press conference on the eve of his induction into the NBA Hall of Fame, on Friday.CJ Gunther (EFE)

As of today, the golden generation of Spanish basketball has its first player in the Hall of Fame. The venue in Springfield, the city where the game was created, celebrates this weekend the careers of dozens of characters, including five players who have added 10 championship rings and 39 All Star Games, as well as five coaches with nearly 5,000 wins. Among them is Pau Gasol (43 years old, Barcelona), who took his first steps with sports on the basketball courts near the Sagrada Familia that were guarded by his grandparents. “Arriving here is such a unique feeling, it’s hard to describe, but I’m so excited,” he said in Spanish.

“This generation is a great achievement for international basketball,” said Gasol. He added: “The game has grown a lot since we started. We can be proud that we have taken it to a higher level. Today we see how many other Europeans raise this percentage even higher. Gasol will become the third Spaniard to reach the museum dedicated to the sport. But he is the first player, the other two are Coaches: Pedro Ferrandez and Antonio Diaz Miguel.

At the press conference, Gasol made a moment for his Spanish team-mates. “I always felt so proud to play for my country. I think my game is here [en Estados Unidos] I took advantage of every summer I spent playing with my teammates, and always felt the love and support from our country. And I tried to make my country feel very proud of me after I was selected for such a high position in the draft.”

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Pau Gasol made history with his career and will make his legend even greater when he dons the orange suit and a special commemorative ring. These accessories add to her career tally with two NBA titles, two Olympic medals, three Spanish titles and a FIBA ​​gold medal. His name will be recorded starting this weekend in the museum that was built a few meters from the place where basketball was invented at the end of 1891 by Canadian James Naismith, a YMCA physical education teacher.

Naismith’s invention was commissioned. The gym managers asked him to develop a game that would keep the most rebellious and problematic students busy, who couldn’t be outside because of the freezing temperatures in that Illinois town. For this reason, he developed a game where communication was minimal and everyone’s participation as a team was essential. The new sport became popular very quickly. By 1894, just three years after its invention, it was already being played in dozens of countries as far away from Springfield as China, France, and India.

The generation of 2023 emphasizes the internationalization of basketball, especially the European talents who came to change the NBA since the 1990s. With Gasol, German Dirk Nowitzki, the sixth-highest scorer in the NBA and who led the Dallas Mavericks to the first championship in their history in 2011, entered the Hall of Fame. and French point guard Tony Parker, the San Antonio Spurs legend who dominated the league in the early 2000s alongside Tim Duncan and Argentine Manu Ginobili. Parker’s team dominance will have a double representation at the ceremony: Gregg Popovich, Spurs coach and man with the most wins off the bench in league history, will be added to the Museum of Legends.

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Among the Americans who will also receive the honor is Dwyane Wade, who formed a dominant trident for the Miami Heat alongside LeBron James and Chris Bosh, with whom he won three NBA championships and was named an All-Star 13 times. Gold medalist with the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Spain, led by the Gasol brothers, Juan Carlos Navarro and Jose Calderón, were defeated in a legendary match. Also entering the hall will be Becky Hammon, six-time WNBA All-Star and bronze medalist at Beijing 2008.

There will be two legends responsible for introducing Gasol at the ceremony. The first is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Lakers giant who retired in 1989 and whose points record stood until this year, when it was surpassed by LeBron James. In addition, Croatian Tony Kucuk will attend the ceremony. Chicago Bulls forward Michael Jordan was one of the first to come from Europe to make a name for himself in the NBA. In the process, they have inspired an entire generation of children all over the world. One of them was Gasol, who at the age of 19 was a skinny guy and played for Barcelona. Today they are both considered among a select group of athletes who have triumphed on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Oliver Walton

"Pro alcohol addict. Bacon scholar. Award-winning beer fan. Gamer. Social media expert. Zombie guru."

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