Marc Gasol, like his brother Pau, started his NBA career as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies. Unlike Marc, Pau left Memphis in his prime to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. He won two championships there and will forever be remembered as the co-star that finally helped Kobe Bryant get back to the top of the mountain after his breakup with Shaquille O’Neal. He may have left as a free agent in 2014, but the elder Gasol is a Laker legend that will be revered in Los Angeles forever.
His younger brother took a different route to the purple and gold. He spent the bulk of his career in Memphis before winning a championship as a member of the Toronto Raptors. He didn’t sign with the Lakers until he was 35, and his first season with the team ended in a disappointing first-round loss to the Phoenix Suns. That didn’t take away from Gasol’s experience as a Laker, though. As he explained to reporters after his exit interview.
“I came into this year with the mindset of enjoying every second of it, soaking everything in, and understanding what an honor it is to wear this jersey,” Gasol said. “Obviously, you guys know my family history with the team and how much it meant to Pau. So for me to be here and play for this team was an honor, and it is an honor. So I didn’t take it for granted for one second.”
Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you would like to subscribe.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Gasol turned 36 during the season. He did not confirm his plans for next season, so retirement appears to be a possibility. He had already done everything a player can do in his career prior to joining the Lakers. He was an All-Star, a Defensive Player of the Year and a champion. But clearly, getting to share the jersey that will one day vault his brother into the Hall of Fame meant something to Marc as his career nears its conclusion.
His decision to sign with the Lakers in the first place was something of a full-circle moment for both brothers. Technically, Marc was a Laker before Pau. The Lakers picked Marc No. 48 overall in the 2007 NBA Draft, but he continued to play abroad rather than come to the NBA immediately. Before he made the jump, the Lakers traded him to Memphis as part of the Pau deal. Marc was a Laker first, and this season, he ensured that he will be a Laker last, but his brother’s stint with the team is part of what made that run special in the first place.