The 2016 NBA All-Star Game saw the return of Pau Gasol to the glorious event. Initially unable to join the weekend in Toronto, the Chicago Bulls star was eventually granted the opportunity when Jimmy Butler had to back out due to injury. Apart from the honor of taking part in the 2016 NBA All-Star, Gasol had been thrilled to once again play with the great Kobe Bryant.
In an interview, Gasol shared how exhilarated he was to share the hardwood court with the Black Mamba. Bryant and Gasol both played for the Los Angeles Lakers where they worked together to bring the NBA championship twice to the team.
"I said I was so happy for him, that he deserved everything he was getting and just happy, happy to see him get this type of love and recognition, proud of him for his career, all he's accomplished, all he's given to the game," said Gasol. "Thankful to see him honored. I was able to share a part of my career with his career together, a great experience. It was nice to be out there and celebrate the moment with him, the tributes he received from the NBA, the league, from the fans was emotional and special."
Gasol also disclosed that the emergence of young stars in the NBA has made it difficult for the veteran stars. He shared that "the gap" between the old and new stars is becoming bigger, noting that some of the basketball stars in the All-Star weekend were still in preschool or kindergarten when Bryant first entered the event.
Reflecting on his own NBA journey, Gasol is "moved" by the things he managed to accomplish over the years. He said, "It has been (an amazing) career. When I think about it I am moved by it; everything I have been able to accomplish, the experience to share with people at the same time. That's something I always take to heart and it's humbling."
With these comments in mind as well as the exit of Bryant from the league, some fans believe that Gasol might be considering retirement soon. Given the NBA trade rumors once again surrounding the Spanish star, the question of his desire to continue with the process arises. That is, does Gasol want another round of adjustments and setbacks following his stint with the Chicago Bulls?
The answer might be a resounding yes. Gasol, while acknowledging the increasing gap between the old and new stars in the NBA today, appears to remain eager to play the sport. He said, "I'm still playing at a very, very high level and recognized for it. I could never have dreamed of a career like this. But the fact is it's been an incredible journey and I intend to prolong it for a few more years and I am definitely proud."