- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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LOS ANGELES -- Mike D'Antoni hasn’t even assumed his coaching seat on the sideline yet and the Los Angeles Lakers are already setting scoring records.
Lakers forward Pau Gasol's foul-line jumper with 9:21 remaining in the third quarter of the Lakers' game against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night gave him 15,000 career points. Gasol is only the 10th foreign-born player in NBA history to reach the mark and the first player from Spain to do so.
"It feels good," Gasol said after the game. "I think it's something to be proud of and I'm happy that I've been able to reach this milestone and I want to continue. I want to continue to be as productive as I've been throughout my career and it feels good. It's a good milestone to reach."
The nine other foreign-born players in the 15,000-point club are Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Dominique Wilkins (France), Patrick Ewing (Jamaica), Dirk Nowitzki (Germany), Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands), Rolando Blackman (Panama), Steve Nash (South Africa), Kiki Vandeweghe (Germany) and Detlef Schrempf (West Germany).
Gasol pumped both of his fist in celebration as he back pedaled down the court following his made shot. After the ensuing timeout, Lakers public address announcer Lawrence Tanter pointed out Gasol's accomplishment to the crowd and Gasol received a partial standing ovation from the fans.
"I just wanted to be successful," Gasol said. "I just wanted to make it and earn respect and succeed and hopefully make people proud of what I was doing and make myself proud of myself. That's what I've always tried to do on a daily basis and so far I've gotten to this point and it's been, I think, pretty good."
Said Kobe Bryant, who had the assist on Gasol's milestone basket: "Hopefully people will talk about it a little bit and sing his praises a little bit. He's not the type to toot his own horn, so, I think it's important for Los Angeles to kind of pay their respects for what he's done for this franchise. He kind of goes under the radar, slips under the mat for whatever reason. He's a fantastic player."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
6hMarc Stein and Ramona Shelburne