Pau Gasol Remembers Kobe Bryant on Anniversary of His Close Friend's Death: 'I Miss You'
Pau Gasol recently named his daughter after Kobe Bryant's daughter Gianna, who was killed alongside him last year
Kobe Bryant's former teammate and close friend Pau Gasol is reflecting on life without the superstar athlete.
Gasol, 40, shared an Instagram post in the late athlete's honor on Tuesday, one year after Kobe's death in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash that also killed the star's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
"I miss you, hermano … not a day goes by that you are not present in what I do," wrote Gasol alongside photos of himself with Kobe, as well as Kobe with Gianna.
"Your spirit, your drive, your ambition, your love … continues to shine in my life and in many others," he wrote. "Photos, videos, very special moments keep being shared by countless people that have admired you and loved you in their own way, reminding me how incredibly lucky I have been to share some of those moments with you."
"I hope you and Gigi are smiling down seeing how strong, sweet and amazing your girls are … they are growing so fast brother," the athlete wrote in his message, which was also included in Spanish. He added, "Today, we honor and celebrate both of you, you have left us with so much … but even if it isn't how we would like things to be, you are, and always will be, in our hearts."
The Spanish basketball player and Kobe formed an especially close bond during their time on the Los Angeles Lakers, and Gasol has been a source of emotional support for Kobe's wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their three daughters, Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and 18-month-old Capri.
From surprising them with flowers and gifts to taking a trip together to the San Francisco Bay Area in August of last year, Gasol and his wife, Catherine McDonnell, have done their best to stand by the Bryants in the year since the devastating accident.
Gasol and McDonnell even named their newborn daughter "Elisabet Gianna Gasol" in memory of Kobe's late daughter.
Said Gasol in his Tuesday post, "I wish you could've met our little Elisabet Gianna. We will make sure she knows where her middle name comes from … how extraordinary, loving and inspiring her cousin Gigi and her uncle Kobe were."
Gasol was traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to Los Angeles back in 2008. After Gasol made his debut with the Lakers in a 105-90 defeat of the New Jersey Nets, Kobe famously proclaimed "There is a God, there is a God," in a post-game interview.
The pair played together until Gasol became a free agent in 2014 and left the Lakers for the Chicago Bulls after years of trade speculation.
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In February of last year, Gasol opened up to the Los Angeles Times about finding out about Kobe's death, saying, "I just started crying, it was hard to find words, I couldn't talk to anyone for days."