Pau Gasol Press Conference

Pau Gasol gives a press conference at Theatre Liceu, Barcelona, Spain on Oct. 5, 2021/ (REUTERS)

BARCELONA — Spanish basketball great Pau Gasol announced on Tuesday that he is retiring from the sport after a 23-year career.

“I’m here to tell you that I’m going to retire from professional basketball. It’s a difficult decision after so many years but it’s a decision I’ve taken carefully,” Gasol, 41, told a news conference at Barcelona’s Liceu theatre.

Gasol, who stands 7 feet 1 inch, made his professional debut in 1998 with Barca as a center before being signed by NBA side Memphis Grizzlies in 2001.

He won NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010 while being chosen in the All-Star team on six occasions.

Gasol later played for Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs and had a brief stint with Milwaukee Bucks plus four months at Portland Trail Blazers, where injury prevented him from playing.

He returned to Barcelona earlier this year, helping his boyhood club end a seven-year wait to win the Spanish championship in June.

Gasol was a talisman for Spain, helping the country win the Olympic silver medal at the 2008 and 2012 Games plus bronze in 2016.

He recovered from almost two years out injured to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where Spain lost in the quarter-finals to eventual winners the USA in his final international.

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