“You have to change gears.” With this expression, the Catalan pivot, one of the great icons of contemporary Spanish sport –and one of the best basketball players in the world–, announced his retirement on Tuesday. A goodbye that transcends the merely sports and that has attracted the unanimous tribute of thousands of users of social networks.
To announce that the curtain is coming down, the athlete had summoned the press at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. The rumor of the withdrawal had been circulating for weeks in the sports media and today the name of Gasol had climbed from very early to the hot topics (the so-called ‘trending topics’) of social networks.
Surrounded by his family, teammates and managers from Barça, his first and last club, the pivot has assured that it is a “thoughtful decision”. At 41, Gasol has had an upward career for more than two decades.
His record places him among the elite of world basketball. With the Spanish team he achieved two silver at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 games, a bronze at Rio 2016, a gold at the 2006 Japan Basketball World Cup, three gold at the Eurobasket in Poland 2009, Lithuania 2011 and France 2015; two silvers in those of Sweden 2003 and Spain 2007, and two bronzes in those of Turkey 2001 and 2017.
In the NBA, where he ended up paving the way for a whole generation of Spanish athletes, he was twice champion with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010, six times selected for the All Star, second highest European scorer in history and highest European rebounder .
With Barcelona, a team in which he flourished and which has seen him hang up his shoes, he was three times champion of the ACB league (in 1999, 2001 and 2021) and twice champion of the Copa del Rey (in 2001 and 2021).
From the world of sports, politics, culture and also from sports media and private citizens, tributes have been made with the hashtag #graciasPau. “All my admiration and my gratitude for the innumerable joys that you have given us during all these years”, has tweeted the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez