Rafael Nadal has hailed Pau Gasol’s greatness as the Spanish tennis icon acknowledged that it is “incredible” to see a Spanish basketball player getting his jersey retired by the iconic Los Angeles Lakers. Prior to the trade deadline in 2008 February, the Lakers traded for Gasol.
That move changed everything for the Lakers, who went on to make three consecutive NBA Finals in Gasol’s first three seasons in Los Angeles. The Lakers lost the 2008 NBA Finals but won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
Gasol, who played for the Lakers for six years, played a big part in the Lakers’ run to the championships in 2009 and 2010. Now, the Lakers are retiring Gasol’s jersey and no other player will ever again wear a No 16 Lakers jersey.
Nadal congratulates Gasol
“For the Los Angeles Lakers to retire Pau Gasol’s jersey is something incredible to me. It is someone who is not American, in a team that is probably the most emblematic in the history of the NBA.
For them to retire the jersey of a player who is not American, who is Spanish, and someone I personally have lived it very closely, it makes me very excited. I think it is a day to celebrate and to be proud of what he has achieved.
This shows what Pau is and what Pau has meant for the most important league in the world, in a sport in which things like this were very distant years ago,” Nadal said in a video uploaded on his Twitter.
Meanwhile, Nadal remains sidelined after injuring his hip in Australia. Last week, Nadal announced his withdrawal from Indian Wells and Miami.
“It’s been a while since I don’t communicate with you. Took my time off, started rehab, gym and physiotherapy as instructed by the doctors. Getting ready to come back the in the best conditions. I am sad that I won’t be able to compete at Indian Wells nor Miami.
Very sad not to be there. I’ll miss all my US fans but I hope to see them later this year during the summer swing,” Nadal wrote on Twitter last week.