Lakers forward Pau Gasol scored his 15,000th career point Sunday night in the Lakers' 119-108 victory over the Houston Rockets.
After a draft-day trade sent him from the Atlanta Hawks to Memphis, Gasol spent 6 1/2 seasons with the Grizzlies before his trade in 2008 to the Lakers.
The deal would revitalize the franchise, helping to take the Lakers to the NBA Finals for three straight years, winning two titles.
Teammate Kobe Bryant spoke highly of Gasol on Sunday night.
"Hopefully, people will talk about him a little bit, sing his praises a little bit," Bryant said. "He's not the type to toot his own horn. I think it's important for the city of Los Angeles to pay him respect for what he's done for this franchise. He kind of goes under the radar, slips under the map for whatever reason, but he’s a fantastic player."
Gasol was humbled by the attention.
"It feels good. I think it's something to be proud of and I'm happy to be able to have reached this milestone, but I want to continue," he said. "I want to continue to be as productive as I've been throughout my career, and it feels good. It's a big milestone to reach."
Like the Lakers, Gasol started slowly this season but has improved. He has averaged 14.3 points a game on 43.6% shooting along with 9.4 rebounds. The team finally hit the .500 mark after Sunday's win over the Rockets.
Gasol may prove be an integral part of new coach Mike D'Antoni's new offense moving forward.
After the game Wednesday, Gasol reflected on his career.
"I just wanted to be successful," he said. "I just wanted to make it and earn respect and succeed, and hopefully make people proud of what I was doing and make myself proud of myself."
As far as Bryant is concerned, Gasol has indeed earned that respect.
"That's a huge accomplishment," he said. "He's one of the greatest international players to ever come to our game, and it's extremely well deserved."
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