Pau Gasol: « Kobe Bryant was the closest thing I had to a big brother. »

Throughout his career, Kobe Bryant loved to tell anyone who would listen that he didn’t have time to have friends. He even made a slogan of it: « Friends hang sometimes, banners hang forever ». Except that behind the scenes, it was far from being the case.


« Yeah, he kept saying, ‘I don’t have time for friends, I’m too busy achieving my goals, being the best. I don’t have time for all this sentimental stuff.’ He would say that in public, and it was kind of true. But… he was the closest thing I had to a big brother. » Pau Gasol.

The Spaniard reports that the Black Mamba always answered when he called him and asked for help. A privileged relationship, which the two men lived away from social networks.

« He was tough, he fought, he was hungry… You could see the Mamba Mentality. He wanted to be the best, to work harder than anyone else. But he also had a very kind, loving side. » Pau Gasol.

Truth be told, by the end of his career Kobe let his guard down and let everyone see that side of his personality a little more regularly.

« I’m more inclined to show my softness and my emotions than he is, and I think maybe that influenced him a little bit. I would say to him, ‘You know, it’s OK to be normal, to act nice, to be vulnerable, sometimes. You don’t have to be tough, all the time […] I remember one time we were on a bus in Phoenix and I asked him why the rest of the world wasn’t allowed to see how cool he was. I asked that question in front of everyone, and he said he couldn’t show you that. I think that was part of the Memba Mentality. But when you could get him to let his guard down, or get into his fortress, you realized that Kobe was really cool. But you had to get him to show that side of his personality. » Pau Gasol.


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