Pau Gasol shared a story with Zach Lowe of ESPN on how Kobe Bryant welcomed him after the Spanish center was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. It turns out Kobe went to meet his new teammate in the middle of the night, at 2 a.m. The Lakers legend was happy to have Gasol on the roster, but his main focus was winning a championship. He made it clear during their first conversation as teammates.
“It was very early, when I joined the team in Washington D.C. after my physicals in L.A. (following the trade). The team was on the road, I joined the team, I wasn’t gonna play, they had an afternoon game the next day on Sunday. I was not gonna play that game, I hadn’t had a chance to practice or do anything, and Kobe had been texting me from the moment I got traded that as soon as I arrived in Washington D.C., he wanted to stop by in my room and kind of talk to me and welcome me to the team.Pau Gasol
“I told him like ‘hey, okay, it’s gonna be late, like 1:30 or so, so you don’t have to. We can wait until tomorrow if you want.’ He was like ‘no, no, no. I’m coming. I’m coming.’ So he came, obviously I was happily surprised and he told me ‘hey I’m very happy that you’re here, very excited, this is great, but now let’s go win a championship.’
“So from the very beginning he really sent a message of what he was going to be like, and what he was about, and the kind of level and mindset I had to be at. Losing, not winning a game in the playoffs, that’s over with. Here we’re gonna go for a championship. And that was really great and unique and incredible from his part, and showed what type of leader he was.”
After Gasol joined the Lakers, the team won two straight NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.