Discover more from The Morning Column presented by The Sporting Tribune
The Morning Column: October 5, 2021
Pau Gasol announced his retirement Tuesday. He will be a first ballot hall of famer and will get his No. 16 Lakers jersey retired at Staples Center. Anyone who disagrees is clueless about basketball.
👋🏽 Hello on a beautiful Tuesday and welcome to The Morning Column. Please subscribe if you haven’t done so already. It will be delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. To avoid the email ending up in your spam, social or promotion folder, please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts. You can also email me there as well.
OK, let’s get to it!
1. 🏀 Pau Gasol retires
Pau Gasol announced his retirement from basketball on Tuesday.
He will be a first ballot hall of famer and will soon get his No. 16 Lakers jersey retired at Staples Center. Anyone who disagrees is clueless about basketball and the impact he had on the game.
It seems ridiculous to even have to type that last sentence but seemingly every time I write about Gasol’s hall of fame career and how his jersey will one day hang next to Kobe Bryant’s, there’s pushback from a certain segment of Lakers fans who believe if Gasol’s No. 16 is retired the team should also retire Derek Fisher’s No. 2, Robert Horry’s No. 5, Michael Cooper’s No. 21 and other Lakers fan favorites.
The difference between Gasol and those beloved former Lakers players is Gasol is a future hall of fame player. That’s not an opinion. It’s a fact. Basketball Reference has a section where it ranks players based on hall of fame probability. Gasol is in the Top 80 all time at 0.9334. That’s ahead of James Worthy, Gail Goodrich and Jamaal Wilkes, who are in the hall of fame and have their Lakers’ numbers retired. Every player in the Top 100 is either in the hall of fame or will be.
“Pau Gasol is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished players of his generation,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “A two-time NBA champion, six-time NBA All-Star, three-time Olympic medalist and world champion, Pau inspired countless fans through his remarkable skill and passion for the game.”
In the three years after the Lakers traded Shaquille O’Neal in 2004 (following three straight championships and four Finals appearances), the Lakers missed the playoffs in 2005 for just the second time since 1976 and were eliminated in the first round in 2006 and 2007. The Lakers’ trade for Gasol made them a championship team again. The tandem of Gasol and Bryant led the Lakers to three straight NBA Finals and back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. Yes, Fisher, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza all played huge roles but Bryant and the Lakers don’t win those two championships without Gasol.
Again, that’s not an opinion. That’s a fact.
“When Pau retires, he will have his number in the rafters next to mine,” Bryant said in 2018. “The reality is I don’t win those championships without Pau. The city of L.A. doesn’t have those two championships without Pau Gasol. We know that. Everyone knows that. I really look forward to the day when he’s giving his speech at center court in front of all the fans who have supported him over the years. It’s going to be an awesome night.”
2. ⚡️ It (almost) never rains in L.A.
There was a rare weather delay at the start of the Monday Night Football game between the Chargers and Raiders at SoFi Stadium. Many people watching at home and on social media were confused how there could be a weather delay at a domed stadium with a roof over the field but SoFi Stadium is the league’s first indoor-outdoor venue with the stadium bowl sitting under a canopy. It’s more of an awning than a fixed roof so fans can still feel the wind and rain depending on where they’re sitting or standing. While Raiders coach Jon Gruden wasn’t a fan of the delay or the stadium’s design, most Los Angeles stadiums aren’t designed with inclement weather in mind and shouldn’t be. Dodger Stadium, for example, has had just one rain delay since 2008.
3. 🎶 Song of the Day
4. 📸 Photo of the Day
5. 💵 Odds and Ends Powered by Bovada
Here are some odds on Bovada if you’re thinking about placing a wager today.
6. 📆 Oct. 5, 2002: Angels win first postseason series
After 42 years of heartbreak and frustration, the Angels won their first postseason series on this day in 2002 when they beat the New York Yankees, 9-5, to take the ALDS in four games. The Angels upset the 103-win Yankees, which had the best record in baseball and had won the World Series four times in five years. The Angels not only won their first postseason series but went on to win their first World Series later that month in a dramatic seven-game series against the San Francisco Giants.
7. 🎂 Happy Birthday Barry Switzer
Happy birthday to Barry Switzer. The former head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys is turning 84 years old today. He won three national championships at Oklahoma and coached the Cowboys to their last Super Bowl in 1996. He became just the second coach in history (after former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson) to win a college football national championship and a Super Bowl.
8. 🎟 Ticket Time Powered by StubHub
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game this week.
9. 📺 On The Air
⚾️ 5:10 p.m. – St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers – TBS (Wednesday)
10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show
On Monday’s show we talked about Raiders fans romanticizing the team's time in Los Angeles before playing the Chargers on Monday Night Football at SoFi Stadium.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
And please click below to subscribe to The Morning Column at Substack. Please also consider supporting my colleagues at Substack (and former colleagues at ESPN and SI): Marc Stein, Henry Abbott, Chad Ford and Ethan Sherwood Strauss on the NBA, Molly Knight and Joe Posnanski on MLB, Ariel Helwani on MMA, Dan Rafael on boxing, Grant Wahl and Leander Schaerlaeckens on soccer, Chris Peters on the NHL and Peter Bodo on tennis.
That’s it for today. I’m on the road Wednesday so I’ll talk to you Thursday!