Spain legend Pau Gasol announces immediate retirement from Basketball

Two-time NBA champion and three-time Olympic men's basketball medallist made the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday

By James Pratt
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Two-time NBA champion and three-time Olympic medallist Pau Gasol has announced his retirement from playing professional basketball.

The 41-year-old Spaniard made the announcement at an emotional press conference in Barcelona on Tuesday (5th October), and streamed live on social media.

"I am here to inform you that I am going to retire from professional basketball, it is a difficult decision after so many years, but it is a considered decision," he said.

"One of the things I wanted is to end my career playing and enjoying, not with an injury. I’m very grateful to everyone who was there to help me to win the last ‘Liga’ with Barca, the club I started in and to be able to play my fifth Olympic Games with my colleagues, was very, very special"

Gasol won silver medals at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and a bronze at Rio 2016, in addition to FIBA World Cup gold in 2006 and three EuroBasket titles.

Pau and brother Marc had previously stated that the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021 would be their last international competition. Spain were beaten in the quarter-final by eventual champions USA.

From Spain to the NBA and back again

Pau Gasol won two NBA crowns with the LA Lakers, in 2009 and 2010, and also played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and Milwaukee Bucks during his time in North America.

The third overall pick in the 2001 draft, he went on to become a six-time NBA All-Star, before returning to Europe in February 2021 to finish his career where it began - with the FC Barcelona men's basketball team.

In 2021, Gasol was elected to become a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission.