On the road, against the New Jersey Nets -- that’s where it started. Mitch Kupchak can still recall the details, even now. That’s the type Jarius Wright Womens Jersey of impact the Los Angeles Lakers’ newest player made on that February night in 2008.
Pau Gasol joined the Lakers a few days earlier in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. In his debut in purple and gold, the 7-foot Spaniard started and poured in 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds and four assists in 35 minutes against the Nets. The Lakers won that game by 15 points, foreshadowing a river of success that soon followed.
It seems so long ago today, with Gasol having departed the Lakers after six and a half seasons to join the Chicago Bulls over the summer. His new team will host his old one on Christmas Day, the first meeting between the two squads since Gasol left Los Angeles.
“It’s going to be hyped up,” said Lakers reserve guard Nick Young, “because Kobe’s been talking about this since summertime, when I asked him about Pau.” http://www.chiefsauthenticofficialshop.com/CHIEFS-JOE-MONTANA-JERSEY But as he reminisced about Gasol’s initial days with the Lakers, Kupchak gazed up at their past two championship banners gracing the wall of the team’s practice facility in El Segundo, California -- the ones from 2008-09 and 2009-10. “We would not have those banners if it wasn’t for Pau,” Kupchak said.
Nor, he added, would the Lakers have appeared in the NBA Finals at the end of Gasol’s first season with the team, when they fell to the Boston Celtics in six games.
"From Day 1, he was terrific for this organization," Kupchak said.
Gasol helped turn around a franchise still searching for an identity after Shaquille O'Neal left in 2004 via trade to Miami. In the first three seasons after O’Neal’s departure, the Lakers missed the playoffs once and twice failed to reach the second round. After Gasol arrived, they reached three straight NBA Finals. http://www.49ersshopnflonline.com/49ERS-BRUCE-MILLER-JERSEY Beyond that, Kobe Bryant’s winning percentage in the three seasons after O’Neal left and before Gasol arrived was .520, but with Gasol by his side, that percentage rose to .689, including 13 playoff series wins.
Gasol proved to be an ideal player for Phil Jackson’s triangle offense, a smart, skilled and unselfish big man who was formidable on his own but even more potent once he teamed up with fellow 7-footer Andrew Bynum to form a tough “Twin Towers” tandem.
Yet Gasol’s legacy with the Lakers isn't without its complications. http://www.lionsnflofficialauthentic.com/LIONS-RASHEAN-MATHIS-JERSEY For as great as his early years were in L.A., his latter years were riddled with injuries and mixed results. Ultimately, Gasol took less money for a fresh start, accepting a three-year, $22 million deal from the Bulls while spurning a richer offer from the Lakers and a plea from Bryant to stay.