On Feb. 1, 2008, the Los Angeles Lakers swung a franchise-altering trade with the Memphis Grizzlies that netted All-Star big man Pau Gasol and a second-round draft pick in exchange for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol and first-round picks in 2008 and 2010.
Prior to Gasol’s arrival, Los Angeles carried legitimate postseason aspirations with the excellent play of Kobe Bryant and veteran Lamar Odom. But with the Spaniard now in the fold, the Lakers further solidified themselves as a championship contender.
Gasol instantly made his impact felt on both ends and carried the Lakers to a 22-5 record with him in the starting lineup. L.A. would then cruise through the first three rounds of the playoffs and advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Though the Lakers fell short to the Boston Celtics in six games, Gasol would help lead the Lakers to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances and two championships from 2009-10.
Along the way he etched himself into Lakers history with many clutch and game-winning shots in the postseason.
Most notably, Gasol’s gutsy performance in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Celtics, which included a basket to ice the victory and propel the Lakers to their 16th NBA championship in franchise history.
Gasol’s tenure with the Lakers came to an end in 2014, but his legacy speaks for itself. In addition to two championships, he was selected to three All-Star teams (2009-11) and was named to the All-NBA Second Team in 2011, as well as the All-NBA Third Team on two separate occasions (2009-10).
In seven seasons with the Lakers, Gasol averaged per game totals of 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists on 52.2 shooting. Defensively, he added 1.4 blocks and 0.6 steals, and only committed two turnovers per contest.
Gasol proved he was the ultimate team player, and though he’s no longer a member of the organization, he still holds the city and fan base close to his heart.
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