Pau Gasol came to the Lakers in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2007-08 season and quickly clicked with Kobe Bryant, both on and off the court.
Raised in Europe, Bryant had much in common with the Spanish center/forward. Gasol says they were “brothers,” but the kind of sibling who knew how to push his buttons — and it worked. Gasol credits Bryant and his blunt “Mamba mentality” for pushing him to his greatest professional heights. Together, they led the Lakers to consecutive titles in 2009 and 2010.
Their bond remained long after Gasol left the Lakers in 2014, and he remembers Bryant as a man whose legendary desire to excel extended to his post-basketball endeavors and as a parent and husband.