At 39 years old, Pau Gasol has yet to officially retire from professional basketball, despite his advanced age, recent injury history, and the fact he wasn’t signed by another team after he was released by the Portland Trail Blazers a few months ago. In a new interview, however, the veteran big man revealed that he is actually contemplating hanging up his sneakers, with most of the above factors potentially playing a role in his decision.
“With this recovery process and the injury that I have been dealing with for more than a year, it’s undoubtedly inevitable to think about retirement,” Gasol told Spanish publication El Pais, as quoted and translated on Monday by EuroHoops. “Also taking into account that I will be 40 years old in a few months. So it’s definitely in my mind.”
As explained separately by Bleacher Report, Gasol last played in the NBA in the 2018-19 season, suiting up for the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks and averaging just 3.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in 30 combined games. This, as noted, marked the first time in nearly two decades in the league that he averaged single digits in scoring. In May of last year, the six-time All-Star underwent surgery for a stress fracture on his left foot, and while he was signed by the Trail Blazers as a free agent in the 2019 season, he was waived by the team in November before he could play a game in Portland.
Per Basketball-Reference, Gasol has career averages of 17 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists. Prior to his stints with the Spurs and the Bucks, he also suited up for the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, and Chicago Bulls since getting picked third overall in the 2011 NBA Draft.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 18, 2020
Despite his injury woes and the possibility he might have already played his last game in the NBA, Gasol had been holding out hope that he’d play for Spain’s national basketball team at the 2020 Olympics. But with the games reportedly getting postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, that could put these hopes in doubt as the longtime power forward/center would already be in his early 40s, far removed from his prime as a two-time NBA champion with the Lakers.
Given the uncertainty in the world of sports that resulted from myriad concerns regarding the coronavirus, Gasol also chimed in with his thoughts about the crisis, stressing to El Pais that everyone needs to act responsibly amid such trying times.
“It’s a time when, as a society, as a country, as a world, we have to be very responsible, follow the recommendations of our governments and win the battle against the virus,” he said.