As soon as Pau Gasol was officially a member of the purple and gold, Kobe Bryant visited his new teammate in his hotel room to deliver a late-night message.
“‘Let’s go win a title. Let’s go win this thing,'” Gasol said Bryant told him.
The two-time NBA champion spoke about his days playing alongside Kobe on the latest episode of The Old Man & the Three with JJ Redick.
“He [Kobe] hooked me from that very first moment that I landed. He didn’t wait until the next day to tell me.” Gasol said Kobe told him, “‘This is our opportunity. We got to go seize it.'”
Memphis was rebuilding in Gasol’s seventh season with the team, and he wanted to be traded to a contender.
The six-time All-Star hit the lottery when the Grizz announced he was going to LA.
“‘I got to follow him [Kobe]. I’ve got to do whatever it takes to help this team get to that level’. And the impact was pretty immediate, and everything clicked,” said Gasol, describing his mindset once he joined the team.
The Lakers would lose to the Celtics in the Finals that same year, but LA returned in 2009 and 2010 to win back-to-back championships.
Gasol played seven seasons with the Lakers before he was traded to Chicago.
After two seasons with the Bulls, he played two more with San Antonio and finished his NBA career in Milwaukee.
Gasol told Redick he’s enjoying life after basketball but he misses the locker room camaraderie and he is exploring new opportunities within the NBA.
“I’ve been going a little bit under the radar with the Warriors and they’ve kind of opened their doors,” said Gasol. “Again, I don’t want to rush into anything.”
The seven-footer played four seasons at FC Barcelona before entering the NBA and played in five Olympics for Spain over the course of his career.
Gasol won a world title with Spain in 2006, and Olympic silver medals in Beijing (2008) and London (2012), and a bronze in Rio de Janeiro (2016).