Pau Gasol gives thanks to Chicago in Players’ Tribune article

Gasol details time in Chicago with Players’ Tribune article

Pau Gasol hasn’t actually signed a new contract yet, but he made his move to the San Antonio Spurs official Tuesday when he tweeted about it.

On Thursday, Gasol expressed his excitement to join the Spurs through his Players’ Tribune article, titled “Driven As Ever.” But he also detailed his time in Chicago in the article, using it as an opportunity to say thanks to Chicago and to reflect upon his his two seasons there.

He first highlighted his friendship with Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic and how he could relate to Mirotic during Mirotic’s rookie year. Gasol wrote that he would do his best to encourage Mirotic to stay positive despite his struggles just like Lorenzen Wright had done for Gasol during his rookie season in Memphis.

I reminded him to be patient and continue to work. Your time will come, I told him.

I’m not sure he believed me. Maybe he thought it was just another older player saying, “Be positive.” But I didn’t stop checking in on him — making sure he was balancing his frustration with a positive outlook. I was impressed with him. He kept working hard in practice even when he wasn’t getting minutes. The veterans on the team noticed. The coaches definitely noticed. Not too long after our conversation, we suffered a spate of injuries and Nikola got his chance. Suddenly he was playing 30 minutes a game, not 10. He even had some breakout games where he was our high scorer. His second year, he did more of the same. People started to say things like, “This guy Mirotić came out of nowhere!”

But he didn’t come out of nowhere. He was always there. Staying ready.

Gasol also mentioned how the Bulls never reached their full potential or met expectations during his time there, specifically citing injuries as a cause and how it upset him. But he also pointed out positive things he was a part of while in Chicago, like Jimmy Butler‘s rise to stardom.

I take so many positive things away from the entire experience in Chicago. I saw Jimmy Butler transform from a role player the season before I got to the team, into an All-Star in this league — and more importantly, into a leader. I hope to watch him continue to rise — and carry the team with him — for years to come.

I will be forever grateful to the Reinsdorf family, to the entire Bulls organization, to the players, and especially to the fans, for making me feel loved and at home, through good times and bad. You were there for me, and I will carry the memories we made together at the United Center and in the community for the rest of my life.

Gasol’s full article can be read on The Players’ Tribune.

Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.