Gasol during a Milwaukee Bucks game in 2019.
|No. 16 – FC Barcelona|
|Position:||Center / Power Forward|
|Born:||July 6, 1980|
|Listed height:||7 ft 1 in (2.16 m)|
|Listed weight:||250 lbs (113 kg)|
|National Basketball Association career|
|Debut: 2001 for the Memphis Grizzlies|
|Last played: 2019 for the Milwaukee Bucks|
|NBA Draft:||2001 / Rnd: 1 / Pck: 3rd|
|* = offseason / practice squad only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|[ Profile] at nba.com|
|[ stats] at Basketball-Reference|
Pau Gasol Sáez (born July 6, 1980) is a Spanish professional basketball player for FC Barcelona of the Liga ACB and the EuroLeague. He is a six-time NBA All-Star and a four-time All-NBA team selection, twice on the second team and twice on the third team. Gasol has won two NBA championships, both with the Los Angeles Lakers back-to-back in 2009 and 2010. He was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2002 with the Memphis Grizzlies, being the first non-American player to have won that award. He is the older brother of fellow NBA player Marc Gasol.
Gasol was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall pick in the first round of the 2001 NBA draft, but his rights were traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. He holds the Grizzlies' franchise record for free throws made and attempted. Following more than six seasons with Memphis, Gasol played for the Los Angeles Lakers (from 2008 to 2014), the Chicago Bulls (from 2014 to 2016), the San Antonio Spurs (from 2016 to 2019), and the Milwaukee Bucks (2019).
Internationally, Gasol has won a FIBA World Cup title, three EuroBasket titles, two Olympic silver medals, and an Olympic bronze medal with the Spanish national basketball team. Gasol was named MVP of the 2006 FIBA World Cup, and MVP of the 2009 and 2015 FIBA EuroBasket. Pau Gasol shares (with Krešimir Ćosić) the record for most EuroBasket MVP awards, with two each. Gasol is also the all-time leading scorer in the EuroBasket.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Professional career
Gasol was born in Barcelona. Both of his parents played basketball in organized leagues. His father Agustí, a nurse administrator, stood 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m), and his mother Marisa, a medical doctor, was 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m). When Gasol was born, his family was living in Cornellà, although he was born in Barcelona, at Sant Pau Hospital, where both of his parents worked. When he was 6 years old, his family moved to a city close to Barcelona, Sant Boi de Llobregat, where he spent the remainder of his childhood. Gasol was interested in football, but loved basketball. The first sport he played was actually rugby, before switching to basketball. He is described as "a family boy and the perfect student, a tad shy, and a bit of a joker."
He originally did not want to make sports his career. On the day that Magic Johnson announced his HIV-positive status in 1991, the 11-year-old Gasol, who had heard the news in school, decided that he wanted to be a doctor and find a cure for AIDS. He enrolled in medical school at the University of Barcelona, but left as his basketball career at FC Barcelona advanced.
Early years in FC Barcelona (1998–2001)
Gasol began playing basketball as a center with his school team, Llor, and eventually signed with Cornellà. When he was sixteen, he began playing for FC Barcelona's junior team. With Spain's national under-18 team, he won both the 1998 Albert Schweitzer Tournament and the 1998 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship. Gasol made his debut on January 17, 1999 with the senior team of FC Barcelona and played just 25 total minutes in the Spanish ACB League's 1998–99 season, and averaged 13.7 minutes per game in the ACB the next year. However, in his final season in the ACB, Gasol averaged 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game. FC Barcelona was victorious in the Spanish National Cup's 2001 Final's championship game, and Gasol was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. After entering the NBA draft, Gasol was selected third overall in the first round of the 2001 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks, who traded his draft rights to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
Memphis Grizzlies (2001–2008)
In his first season with the Grizzlies, Gasol became the first foreign player to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. He averaged 17.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, and was also the only team member to play in all 82 games that season. Gasol led the team in scoring (19.0 points per game) in his second year with the Grizzlies, and for the second year in a row, played in all 82 games. Gasol missed the first game of his career, during his third year, with a foot injury on April 5, 2004, which snapped his string of 240 consecutive games played. He grabbed the 1,500th rebound of his career on November 12, 2003, against the Orlando Magic and scored his 3,000th career point on October 31, 2003, against the Boston Celtics. Despite having 22 points in Game 4 against the San Antonio Spurs, the highest by a Memphis players in the playoffs, his team was eliminated in the first round, not winning a single game against San Antonio. This was both the Grizzlies and Gasol's first trip to the NBA Playoffs. He scored 31 points and blocked four shots on January 11, 2005, against the Indiana Pacers to earn 5,000 points and 500 blocks in his career, becoming the 10th fastest player to reach 5,000 points/500 blocks since 1973–74. He also helped his team make it to the playoffs for the second time in his career, but they were eliminated in the first round and did not win a single game against the Phoenix Suns.
In his fifth year with the Grizzlies, he became the franchise's all-time leading rebounder on March 24 against the New York Knicks when he grabbed his 3,072nd rebound in a Grizzlies uniform. He made 29 consecutive free throw attempts from January 24 to 28, tying the second best mark in Grizzlies history, including two straight games going 12–12 from the line, tying the best single-game mark in franchise history. Gasol and the Grizzlies returned to the playoffs for the third time in his and his team's history. Once again, they were eliminated in the first round and did not win a single game against the Dallas Mavericks.
On February 9, 2006, making his first appearance, Gasol was selected to play in the 2006 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, Texas as a reserve center for the Western Conference. At the time, he was one of four players ranked among Western Conference forwards in the top ten in points, rebounds, assists and blocked shots. He was the first Spanish basketball player as well as the first Grizzlies player to ever make it to the All-Star Game.
Gasol missed the first 23 games of the 2006–07 NBA season due to a broken foot suffered near the end of Spain's semifinal win over Argentina in the 2006 FIBA World Championship. He would go on to be named Most Valuable Player of the tournament, which Spain won. He had a season-high 34 points (most by a Grizzly that season), and eight rebounds and tied a career-high and franchise record with eight blocks on January 29 against the Sacramento Kings, and surpassed Shareef Abdur-Rahim as the franchise's all-time leader in free throw attempts on January 31 against the Dallas Mavericks. He became the all-time franchise leader in field goals made on February 6 against the Houston Rockets, and became the all-time franchise leader in minutes played on February 7 at Dallas. He surpassed Shareef Abdur-Rahim (7,801 points) as the Grizzlies' all-time leading scorer on March 7, 2007, against the Toronto Raptors (7,809 points at the time). On January 24, 2007, Gasol recorded his second career triple-double against the hosting Utah Jazz, garnering 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. He also registered 2 blocks and one steal.
On February 1, 2008, Memphis traded Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers along with a 2010 second round draft pick for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the rights to Marc Gasol (Pau's younger brother), and 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks. There has been some controversy surrounding the trade. Chris Wallace denied in an ESPN article that he had been ordered by owner Michael Heisley to make the Grizzlies more attractive to a potential buyer. Wallace said, "No one put pressure on me to do this, and Michael Heisley has actually been reluctant to move Pau." He also said that they had been "trolling" the waters for a while and dealt with a number of teams. He selected the Lakers deal because "it didn't get any better than this." When Gasol departed the Grizzlies, he held twelve franchise records, including games played, minutes played, field goals made, free throws made and attempted, offensive, defensive, and total rebounds, blocked shots, turnovers, and points. Per game statistics, he leads Memphis in defensive and total rebounds along with blocked shots.
Los Angeles Lakers (2008–2014)
After being traded to the Lakers, Gasol lived in Redondo Beach, across the street from the shoreline. On February 5, Gasol made his first Lakers appearance in a game against the New Jersey Nets, during which he scored 24 points and had 12 rebounds in a 105–90 win over the Nets. On March 14, Gasol sprained his ankle in a game against the New Orleans Hornets, stepping on the foot of teammate Vladimir Radmanović in the first quarter. Gasol was expected to miss the remaining three games of the Lakers' road trip after x-rays came up negative. Gasol returned to the starting lineup on April 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers and played nearly thirty-two minutes, registering 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists. He admitted to feeling limited with the swelling in his ankle still present. Gasol helped the Lakers finish the regular season with the best record in the Western Conference (57–25), with him in the starting lineup the Lakers went 22–5. Kobe Bryant has also stated that playing with Gasol clicked from the start.
In the Lakers' opening game of the playoffs, he contributed 36 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 blocked shots. When the Lakers swept the Denver Nuggets in the first round, it was Gasol's first trip to the second round in four tries. His previous team, the Grizzlies, failed to reach the playoffs for the second year in a row. He contributed 17 points and 13 rebounds in Game 6 against the Utah Jazz to help the Lakers advance to the conference finals. On May 31, he recorded a career high 19 rebounds in a series-clinching win against the San Antonio Spurs, and he became the first Spaniard to reach the NBA Finals. Gasol scored 14.7 points per game on .532 shooting in the 2008 Finals against the Boston Celtics, which was below his scoring average of 18.9 during the regular season, However, he led the Lakers in rebounding with 10.2 per game throughout the championship series, up from his regular-season average of 8.4. Los Angeles lost in six games against Boston in the Finals, including a 131–92 loss in Game 6. In the Playoffs, Gasol was the second leading Laker in points (16.9), rebounds (9.3) and assists per game (4.0). He was the leader in blocks per game (1.90) and was tied with Lamar Odom with the most postseason double-doubles (10).
On January 2, 2009, in a win against the Utah Jazz, Gasol scored his 10,000th career point. Gasol earned his second All-Star appearance as a reserve for the Western Conference squad during the 2008–09 NBA season, his first as a Laker. He was also named Western Conference Player of the Month after helping the Lakers to an 11–2 record for the month of February that included road wins over Boston and Cleveland. He finished the regular season with averages of 18.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1 block per game. Gasol then won his first NBA championship ring when the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in the 2009 Finals.
On December 24, 2009, Gasol signed a 3-year extension with the Lakers worth $64.7 million. Gasol earned his third All-Star appearance as a reserve for the Western Conference and finished the regular season with averages of 18.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.7 blocks. In Game 6 of the first round, Gasol grabbed 18 rebounds and his last-second putback eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz, he averaged 23.5 points and 14.5 rebounds, and finally in the conference finals against the Phoenix Suns, he averaged 19.7 points with 7.2 rebounds. In Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, Gasol scored 19 points, (6–16 FGM-A, 7–13 FTM-A) grabbed 18 rebounds and recorded two blocks as the Lakers repeated as champions. In 2010, he was chosen as the 15th-smartest athlete in sports by Sporting News.
Challenged by Lakers' coach Phil Jackson to be more assertive while Bryant recovered from offseason knee surgery, Gasol started the season's first week averaging 25.3 points on 52.5 percent shooting, 10.3 rebounds, and five assists per game as the Lakers started 3–0. He was named Western Conference Player of the Week. He earned his third straight All-Star selection and his season averages of 19 points and 10 rebounds were nearly identical to what he had put up as a Laker the previous three seasons. Pau's play also merited him All-NBA second team honors for the first time in his career. In the playoffs, Gasol only averaged 13 points on 42% shooting over 10 games, and the Lakers were swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round. Gasol had the worst post season performance of his career. Lakers Hall of Famer and ESPN analyst Magic Johnson cited Gasol as a possible trade option for the Lakers to acquire Magic center Dwight Howard. Gasol ignored the false reports about his relationship status with his girlfriend as the cause of his poor performance and has accepted the criticism of his play as valid. During the 2011–12 NBA season, Gasol and teammate Lamar Odom were subjected to trade rumors involving former New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul. After the trade fell through, Gasol vowed that it would not affect the way he played. Odom, on the other hand, was angry at the Laker organization and was traded to the 2010–11 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks for a future first round pick. After Lakers co-captain Derek Fisher was traded in March 2012, Gasol joined Bryant as co-captains of the team. He won the 2011–12 season long NBA Community Assist Award.
After a 1–4 start to the 2012–13 season, the Lakers replaced head coach Mike Brown with Mike D'Antoni. Gasol was struggling after seven games under D'Antoni, averaging 10.1 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 38.8 percent, and he was benched in the fourth quarter in multiple games. The team had difficulties getting Gasol involved in D'Antoni's offense, which historically had not had post players playing forward. Gasol ranked only 27th in the league in post-up points with 2.7 per game, down from prior seasons when he was fifth in 2010–11 and ninth in 2011–12. On November 18, 2012, in a win against the Houston Rockets, Gasol scored his 15,000th career point. Bothered by tendinitis in both knees since training camp, Gasol sat out eight games in December before returning to the starting lineup. Later, he was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, but continued playing. General manager Mitch Kupchak told Lakers season-ticket holders the team needed Gasol to be more involved. On January 7, 2013, Gasol received a blow to the face from Denver's JaVale McGee in the fourth quarter of a 112–105 loss. He suffered a concussion, forcing him to miss the next five games. In his first game back, he came off the bench after having started his first 345 games with the Lakers. In the next game, he returned to the starting lineup and scored 25 points against Toronto, only his second 20-point game of the season. However, in the next game on January 21, D'Antoni moved Gasol to a reserve role and started Earl Clark, a change the coach considered permanent. On February 5 against the Brooklyn Nets, Gasol tore the plantar fascia of his right foot. Gasol had tweaked the fascia in the first half, but played through the soreness until he felt it pop when he tried to block a shot by Brook Lopez towards the end of the game. He returned over six weeks later on March 22 after missing 20 games, with D'Antoni returning him to the starting lineup over Clark. After a two-game adjustment period, Gasol's play was solid, and Bryant insisted that Gasol receive the ball in the post. D'Antoni stated that Gasol had played well since January, and attributed the forward's earlier struggles to injuries and the team's evolving offensive system. "I have a lot more confidence in him now, and he's playing great", D'Antoni said. He finished the season with career lows in points (13.7) and field-goal percentage (.466), and his rebounds (8.6) were his lowest since his first season with Los Angeles. He was limited to career-low 49 games. However, he had three triple-doubles in his last seven games including the playoffs.
Gasol was owed $19.3 million in 2013–14 in the final year of his contract, which cost the Lakers around $50 million including luxury taxes. He became a free agent after the season.
Chicago Bulls (2014–2016)
On July 18, 2014, Gasol signed with the Chicago Bulls. He said after he was introduced: "It was a gut feeling. I thought Chicago was going to be the best fit for me. It's a great challenge, but I'm driven by challenge. I look forward to it."
On January 1, 2015, Gasol recorded a career-high 9 blocks, along with 17 points and 9 rebounds, in the 106–101 win over the Denver Nuggets. Ten days later, he scored a career-high 46 points on 17-of-30 shooting in a 95–87 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. On April 9, 2015, he recorded a league-best 51st double-double of the season with 16 points and 15 rebounds in an 89–78 win over the Miami Heat. He recorded his 54th double-double of the season in the regular season finale on April 15 against the Atlanta Hawks to finish as the league-leader in double-doubles in 2014–15.
On December 5, 2015, Gasol became the 116th player to reach 1,000 regular-season games. He had 13 points and 11 rebounds against the Charlotte Hornets for his ninth double-double of the season. On January 25, 2016, he recorded his first career first quarter double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He finished the game with 19 points and 17 rebounds, as the Bulls were defeated by the Miami Heat 89–84. On February 9, Gasol was named as Jimmy Butler's replacement on the 2016 Eastern Conference All-Star squad. On February 27, he recorded his eighth career triple-double and first as a Bull with 22 points, 16 rebounds and a career-high 14 assists in a 103–95 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. At 35 years old, he became the oldest player to record a triple-double since Kobe Bryant did so at 36 years old in 2014. On March 7, he recorded his second triple-double of the season with 12 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists in a 100–90 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, becoming just the fourth player 35 years or older with multiple triple-doubles in a season, joining Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce. On April 2, in a loss to the Detroit Pistons, he became the 38th NBA player to reach 10,000 career rebounds. He also became the 36th with 10,000 points and 10,000 rebounds.
San Antonio Spurs (2016–2019)
Gasol during a Spurs game in Dec. 2017. On July 14, 2016, Gasol signed with the San Antonio Spurs. On November 11, 2016, he had season highs with 21 points and six assists in a 96–86 win over the Detroit Pistons. On January 19, 2017, he was ruled out indefinitely after breaking his left ring finger during pregame warmups earlier that night. He underwent surgery the following day to repair a fracture of his left fourth metacarpal. On February 24, 2017, in a 105–97 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Gasol had 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench in his return from a 15-game absence because of the finger injury. On April 12, 2017, Gasol scored 13 points to reach 20,000 career points in a 101–97 regular-season finale loss against the Utah Jazz, becoming the second European player to reach the mark after Dirk Nowitzki.
On July 24, 2017, Gasol re-signed with the Spurs. On December 20, 2017, he had 20 points and a season-high 17 rebounds in a 93–91 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. On December 23, 2017, he recorded his 10th career triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high 10 assists in a 108–99 win over the Sacramento Kings. On December 26, 2017, in a 109–97 win over the Brooklyn Nets, Gasol collected his 10,817th rebound, moving him past Jack Sikma for 30th in league history. On January 26, 2018, in a 97–78 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Gasol became the 34th player in NBA history to play 40,000 career minutes. On March 25, 2018, he had 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds in a 106–103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
After appearing in the first nine games of the 2018–19 season, Gasol missed the next 26 games with a stress fracture in his right foot. On March 1, 2019, he was released by the Spurs in a buyout agreement.
Milwaukee Bucks (2019)
On March 3, 2019, Gasol signed with the Milwaukee Bucks. He played in three games for the Bucks. On March 23, it was reported that the Bucks expected Gasol to miss the next month due to a left ankle injury. Gasol's injury ended his season. He was unable to play in the playoffs and had surgery on his injured foot on May 9, 2019.
Portland Trail Blazers (2019)
On July 25, 2019, Gasol signed with the Portland Trail Blazers. On November 20, he was waived by the Trail Blazers without having played in a game for the team.
On December 9, 2020, Gasol expressed a desire to return to the NBA, noting a return to the Lakers as his dream destination so he could play with his brother Marc.
Return to FC Barcelona (2021–present)
On February 23, 2021, Gasol returned to Spain to play in Liga ACB club FC Barcelona.