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Pau Gasol is named a finalist for the basketball Hall of Fame

When Pau Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers 15 years ago, he turned their fortunes around.

They had been mired deep in miserable mediocrity since trading Shaquille O’Neal in 2004. Even though Kobe Bryant was at the apex of his powers, it looked like he and the team were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Despite having seemingly very few tradable assets, L.A. landed the star big man from the Memphis Grizzlies, and it immediately took off, reaching the NBA Finals that June and winning the next two world championships.

One of those rings came against the Boston Celtics in a Game 7 that will forever be frozen in immortality for Lakers fans.

On Friday, Gasol took one step closer to achieving personal immortality when it was announced that he was a finalist for the 2023 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class.

For his career, the Spanish native averaged 17 points on 50.7% shooting, 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per game.

The Lakers plan to retire Gasol’s No. 16 jersey on March 7 when they host the Grizzlies.

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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire