Bryant described Gasol simply as “mi hermano” in a 2016 interview, Spanish for “my brother,” and the two formed a special bond during their tenure with the Lakers. Like all siblings, their relationship had its ups and downs, but Gasol ultimately gave Bryant a perfect, symbiotic partner in the NBA, the most seamless pairing of either man’s legendary career. They won two rings together, and clearly the court wasn’t the only place where they formed a deep, familial connection.
From calling Gasol his brother later on, to meeting him at 2 a.m. on the first night he joined the Lakers to welcome him, and even the way Bryant would speak Spanish to him on the court, it was clear Gasol had a special place in Bryant’s heart. And Gasol is continuing their brotherhood, even after Bryant’s tragic passing alongside his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter accident in January.
To most of us, Gasol is one of the greatest and most cherished Lakers ever. To Bryant’s daughters — Natalia, Bianka and Capri — he’s simply “Uncle Pau.”