JAKARTA - The aging Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol on Tuesday announced his departure from the NBA to return to his first club, Barcelona, after nearly two decades of competing in the United States professional basketball league.
The news was announced just three days after the winner of the two NBA championships denied reports that he had signed a contract with Barcelona.
"I am very pleased to announce that I will return home and join the Barca basketball team soon," Gasol said on Twitter.
Very happy to come back home. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Força Barça! 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/6CewIY2Bil- Pau Gasol (@paugasol) February 23, 2021
Gasol, now 40, has been absent from competition since 2019 due to an ankle injury. He last played for the Milwaukee Bucks.
His decision to return to Barca is believed to provide an opportunity for him to prepare his best physical condition in order to strengthen the Spanish national team in the Tokyo Olympics later.
Gasol started his career with Barcelona in 1998 before moving to the NBA and joining the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001.
He has won two consecutive championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010 as well as six appearances on the NBA All-Star team.
In the 2018/19 season, Gasol then played for the San Antonio Spurs before spending his brief spell at the Milwaukee Bucks for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately, he only played three games due to injury which forced him to end the season early.
🏀❤️ Calling all basketball lovers! @Paugasol is our new Nº 1️⃣6️⃣!- FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 23, 2021
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