The NBA announced over All-Star Weekend the finalists for the 2023 class for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Headlining the group is former Laker Pau Gasol along with Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and Gregg Popovich.
The inductees will be announced during the NCAA Final Four in Houston this year in April. To be selected, a finalist must receive at least 18 votes from an honors committee comprised of 24 members.
Pau, obviously, has a lengthy list of accomplishments with a lot of those coming in a purple and gold jersey. He was a 2-time champion and made three straight NBA Finals as one of the focal points of the Lakers during that era.
Away from the Lakers, Pau was one of the most prominent international players of his generation as well. Gasol won a pair of silver medals in the Olympics, was named the FIBA EuroBasket MVP twice and retired as the all-time EuroBasket leading scorer.
At a press conference for the announcement of the finalists, Pau talked about being nominated, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
“As Kobe said at one point, ‘It’s really about the journey,’” Gasol said. “These types of recognitions, which are an amazing honor, they come along when you do things very, very well for a long time. And when you love what you do.”
Pau’s accolades were plenty enough for the Lakers to retire his jersey, which is planned for March 7 against the Grizzlies, the two franchises he spent the majority of his career with. Considering how prominently he’s been featured for the class — like appearing at the press conference over the weekend — Pau is certainly expected to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot.
The Hall of Fame wasn’t the only honor Pau received at All-Star Weekend. During halftime of the game, he was presented the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award.
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