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"I just miss him being there" - NBA legend Pau Gasol opens up about the late Kobe Bryant, talks about naming his own daughter after the late Gianna Bryant

LA Lakers legends Pau Gasol (R) and Kobe Bryant (L)
LA Lakers legends Pau Gasol (R) and Kobe Bryant (L)

Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant were two of the best players for the LA Lakers during their championship runs in 2009 and 2010. The duo shared a special bond both on and off the court.

This became even clearer as Paul Gasol spent time with Kobe's family after Bryant's tragic death in January 2020. The center has admitted that he still misses Kobe and the unparalleled bond the two shared.

Pau Gasol was one of Bryant's closest friends even after the former left Purple and Gold in 2014. The Spanish international has previously expressed how important Kobe was to him. When asked on 'The Real Daytime' what he misses the most about Mamba, Pau Gasol said:

"I just miss him being there, you know being there for his family mainly... inspiring so many people, so many different generations out there with his mentality, always striving to be the best, just having an impact in many different ways...knowing that I can reach him and call him and talk to him , ask him for advice but mainly again I wish he was still here being a father to all his children and being a husband to Vanessa."

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Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna lost their lives in a helicopter crash that claimed nine victims. She was affectionately called Gigi by her dear ones and aspired to be one of the top players in the WNBA one day. Paul Gasol paid his respects to both Kobe and Gianna Bryant as he decided to name his firstborn daughter, Ellie Gianna. Gasol said:

"I think it was the way to have him and her present in our lives forever... It was probably the biggest way we could actually honor him and her into our lives and now having Vanessa as the godmother of our baby, Ellie Gianna, you know that's life. We're family and we love each other. We're going to be there all the way. We told Vanessa from the beginning, we're going to be here always, through good times and the bad times, and naming our daughter Ellie Gianna it was part of how we felt."

The special bond of friendship between Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings

Paul Gasol was one of the best centers in the league when he made his way into the LA Lakers team in 2008. He was also one of the stalwarts of the Spanish team that had won the silver medal in the Beijing Olympics.

Kobe Bryant welcomed Pau Gasol into the Lakers team by hanging his own Olympic gold medal in the locker room. Although it was a bit of a cold move from Mamba, it seemed to do wonders, as their Pau Gasol put up brilliant numbers that season.

During their 2009 championship run, Pau Gasol was terrific. He averaged .18.9 PPG and 9.6 RPG through the 81 games he played. The following year Kobe and Pau Gasol helped the Lakers avenge their defeat from the 2008 Finals, as they led the team to a 4-3 series win against the Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals.

Their bond remained intact even after Gasol's exit from the Lakers. Pau Gasol always called Kobe his Hermano, which means brother in Spanish. After a long and successful playing career, Pau is now focused on life outside of basketball.

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Edited by Parimal
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