When the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant told the Associated Press, “It’s a matter of us just gelling now and putting it together.”
Since, Kobe and Gasol have spent six seasons together with the Lakers. They’ve won two championships together. They endured last season’s disappointment together.
They have definitely jelled.
Kobe wrote a forward for Pau Gasol’s book, and it’s a little moving. Ramona Shelburne ESPNLosAngeles.com:
Bryant writes that “If I could choose my brother,” it would be Gasol. That “he would have the highest basketball IQ in the league” and “you’d have to search and search and you still would not find another player in the history of the game with his skill set.” That “if his organization ever let him down, he would hold his head up high” and “would not lash out or let himself become entangled in the drama.” That “we would both face adversity in our professions, so we would talk about our lives and our careers and the pressures of our celebrity” and that “our bond would be fortified by a trust only brothers share.”
It is hard to imagine higher praise from Kobe. And his sentiments are echoed by the foreword written by former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who said of Gasol, “he’s a son whom I could adopt very easily and embrace.”
It’s great that Kobe feels so close with Gasol, but I can’t help but wonder what Gasol thinks of Kobe.
I’m sure Gasol likes Kobe. That’s not in dispute. My question is about degree.
Kobe is notoriously reserved from his teammates. Though Kobe called Derek Fisher his all-time favorite teammate, Fisher once said he’d never even been to Kobe’s house.
Though Kobe might be especially close with Gasol relative to other teammates he’s had, I wonder how Gasol would compare the closeness he feels with Kobe to the other relationships in his life. Generally, Kobe’s comments would indicate a relationship Gasol also finds extremely close, but with Kobe’s reputation, that’s not necessarily the case.
To be clear, I’m not denigrating Kobe. I respect his desire to keep his privacy, and he and Gasol can define their relationship on their own terms. I’m just curious. That’s all.