NBA veteran forward/center Pau Gasol has been in the league for several years now, as he is well respected around the NBA and regarded as one of the best international players in the history of the league.
The Spanish center had the pleasure of playing alongside Kobe Bryant for some time and won two championships in 2009 and 2010. He saw “The Mamba” in full effect and was his right-hand man through those times, so he knows what kind of work Kobe put in and how he handled big moments.
Although he is injured, today the 38-year old Gasol is teamed up with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the Bucks and can see another start rise from first hand. Giannis is probably going to win the MVP award after this season and is two wins away from leading his team into the Finals.
Having seen both Bryant and Antetokounmpo and their greatness first hand, Pau said he thinks they have some similarities, as he submitted a piece on The Players Tribune and shared his opinion:
Per Ron Gutterman of Lakers Nation
“Like I said, Giannis is not Kobe. But both guys bring an uncommon intensity and competitiveness to the way they play, and it’s only something you can really see if you’ve been near them. You see it in their eyes. They both bring an edge to the way they practice, too. I’ve been Giannis’s teammate for far less time than I was Kobe’s, but I know what Kobe’s approach to practice was like. He practiced as hard as he played. To Kobe, everything was a challenge.”
This is a massive compliment for the “Greek Freak,” as Kobe is someone he admires and someone who trained with him this summer to help him evolve his game. Kobe helped him bring some moves into his arsenal, but the will and motivation to work and get better was born into him, and that’s the reason he is where he is today.
And the best is just in front of him. We can only sit and watch and hope he can get near Kobe’s greatness.