Like it or not, he played better than Dwight Howard and helped LA win championships.
When your team retires your jersey number, your greatness will forever be immortalized not just by your team and your fans but by the league that you've been playing for a long time. A jersey retirement ceremony is definitely an emotional occasion for any player because it means that the team is making sure that your legacy as a player will forever hang among the team's greats.
Just last month, the Los Angeles Lakers retired not one but two of Kobe Bryant's jersey numbers that he wore during his 20-year stint with the Purple and Gold. And frankly, the Black Mamba deserves all of the praises that he continues to receive even though he's long retired from the NBA. Who could score 81 points in a game? Or, who could finish his career by pouring in 60 points in his final game? Only one player did those things. His name is Kobe Bean Bryant.
Back in the 2007-2008 season, the league was shocked when the Memphis Grizzlies traded Pau Gasol and a draft to the Lakers in exchange for 4 players which include KWAME BROWN and the draft rights to Marc Gasol. That trade benefited the Lakers early on as they went on to the NBA Finals that season only to lose to the Boston Celtics in 6 games. But, the Lakers came back stronger, winning the next two NBA championships, with the last one being against the Celtics in a series that went to a classic Game 7 at Staples Center.
The Lakers then parted ways with their Spanish giant as Gasol bounced from the Chicago Bulls until finding a new home with the San Antonio Spurs where he recently signed a 3-year deal. Unfortunately, Gasol's numbers have been on a downhill drive as he's only averaging 10 points and 8 rebounds this season. He's the 4th leading scorer of the Spurs behind LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gay.
After beating the Spurs for their third straight win, current Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton has said that the Lakers should indeed retire Pau Gasol's #16.
Question: Should the Lakers retire #16 beside #8 and #24?
While it's debatable that Pau Gasol isn't among the best players to play for the Purple and Gold, just imagine if he wasn't traded to Hollywood back in 2008, would the Lakers have gone to 3 straight Finals and won 2 NBA championships during that span of time? Nope!
Frankly, this pundit on wheels really thinks that Pau Gasol's number should be retired by the Lakers for one good reason: he helped Kobe Bryant win 2 more championships while averaging 18 points for 3 seasons.
Statistically, Pau is ranking among the greats of the Lakers. He's in the 9th place in the all-time's rebounding average while he's also in 7th place in the blocks per game.
While Pau Gasol has been repeatedly criticized for his being "soft" on defense, there's no denying the fact that he was fully utilized by Phil Jackson during their stint together in LA and it produced 2 championships. Is Pau among the Lakers' great? Debatable. Does he deserve a jersey retirement ceremony? Definitely.