BARCELONA—Twice NBA Champion Pau Gasol has his sights on helping his boyhood team Barcelona win the Euroleague on his return to the club after a two-decade career in the United States.
Barca has not lifted the trophy since 2010 but is well-placed ahead of the playoffs, leading the round robin league table with four games remaining.
“To be able to come back here and help this fantastic team is something I can’t wait to do,” Gasol, who is recovering from a long-term ankle injury, said at his presentation on Thursday.
“The side is going well and one of my aspirations is to help them win the Euroleague, a trophy I’ve never won before.”
Gasol, now 40, first played for Barca in 1998 before being signed by NBA side Memphis Grizzlies in 2001.
He won NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010, later playing for the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs before joining Milwaukee Bucks where he played only three games due to an ankle problem – his last appearance coming in 2019.
The center signed for Portland Trail Blazers that year but was let go four months later without playing due to injury.
Widely regarded as Spain’s best-ever player, Gasol will be looking to return to action this season and earning a spot at the Tokyo Olympic Games, with current world champions Spain amongst the favorites for the gold medal.
“We’re working on it (the injury) and making good progress, following the plan,” Gasol said. “I’m feeling good, and happy with where we’re at – but I need to remain grounded.
“Over the last few days I’ve really been starting to see the light and can’t wait to get back on the court.
“This is a special chance to return home to this team, to compete, help and complement the guys in whatever way I can.”
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