The 2010 NBA Finals have been a popular re-watch among fans of the league recently for a number of reasons.
It’s been 10 years since the series, which is a natural time to revisit a momentous occasion; it featured arguably the greatest rivalry in professional sports and at least the best NBA rivalry between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics; and as of last week, it was the last time that two newly-inducted Hall of Famers — Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett — faced each other in the NBA playoffs.
Pau Gasol, whose growth as a player between 2008 and 2010 enabled the Lakers to win that series, has his own way of remembering that championship.
In a conversation with Zach Lowe in Instagram Live, Gasol revealed that he has a special memento from that 2010 Finals series to commemorate that battle, and how hard the Lakers had to work to come from behind and defeat Boston for the title:
“Just the performance and effort that went into it, it was something I’ll never forget. And then the hugs at the end. I still have a picture actually, at my home in Barcelona, of the moment where Lamar, Andrew and I are kind of hugging and embracing each other. The three of us are like screaming and crying to the sky. It’s a beautiful picture and I have it printed on my wall at home because it reminds me of a moment that was so incredibly unique.”
My guess is Gasol has some variant of this picture up on his wall, and it’s a beauty. Pure joy from the trio, confetti raining, a nice DJ Mbenga cameo in the back — what more could you ask for?
The frontcourt of Gasol, Odom, and Bynum was so spectacular in terms of their skill and versatility, and their ability to play physically against the Celtics without sacrificing the finesse that made them special was remarkable (I still get giddy thinking about the high-low passing they pulled off not only in that series, but also in their three and a half seasons of playing together).
It truly was a unique moment for not only Gasol, but also the Lakers. It was the first time that Los Angeles had managed to beat Boston in Game 7 of a playoff series after losing four times previously, and to do so by coming back from a 13-point deficit in the second half made it even sweeter.
The 2009 NBA championship, as Gasol alludes to earlier in the conversation, was significant in its own way for the franchise, but he never mentions a picture from that year. Beating the Celtics, however, deserved an iconic image to memorialize the feat.