Gasol was drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks then traded his draft rights to the Grizzlies along with Brevin Knight and Lorenzen Wright, which led to Gasol becoming one of the first stars in the Memphis era of the franchise beginning that season.
Gasol had an immediate impact as the league’s Rookie of the Year, becoming the first player in Grizzlies history to win an individual award. He helped lead the team to their first postseason appearance in 2004 and two years later, he became the first All-Star in franchise history.
In seven seasons, he averaged 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds in Memphis. He remains fourth all-time in franchise history in scoring (8,966 points), third in rebounds (4,096), fifth in assists (1,473) and second in blocks (877).
He was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2007-08 season in a midseason deal that changed the fortunes of both franchises. While Gasol won two championships with the Lakers, the Grizzlies received his younger brother Marc, who became one of the cornerstones of the “Grit and Grind” era during his 11 seasons in Memphis.
Pau Gasol could also be the first NBA player to enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame that spent a significant portion of his career with the Grizzlies. His resume includes six All-Star berths, four All-NBA selections with the Lakers, two Olympic silver medals (2008, 2012) with the Spanish men’s national basketball team and a bronze medal in 2016.
But in Memphis, he’ll be remembered as one of the building blocks of a franchise that relocated from Vancouver 20 years ago. The Grizzlies made three consecutive postseason trips from 2004-06 with Gasol in the middle.
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This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Pau Gasol, ex-Lakers standout, NBA champ, retires after 19-year career
Source: Yahoo Sports