On that occasion Henry took a lot of flak for selecting too many of his own Welsh players but Gatland insists there is no chance of him making the same mistake this time around.
But on the face of it Welsh rugby is currently coming from a position of strength: Wales are the reigning RBS 6 Nations champions, the Ospreys are the reigning Celtic League champions and the Cardiff Blues also made the Heineken Cup knockout stages.
But even so Gatland insists impartiality is the name of the game when it comes to picking his Lions squad.
"Part of the problem in 2001 - and I think it would be Graham's criticism of 2001 - was there were probably too many Welsh players selected," he said.
"Some of them weren't probably good enough to go on the tour in the first place. If I was worrying about that, then I'm probably not the right person for the role.
"I've got to be confident in my own coaching ability, confident in my relationship with the players."
Gatland will take charge of Wales for November's autumn internationals before relinquishing his powers to Rob Howley in the 2013 RBS 6 Nations.
The Lions management were keen for Gatland to leave his duties before the autumn internationals but with Wales going up against Australia the New Zealander felt it was an invaluable chance to scout out next year's opposition.
"It gives me a chance to coach again against Australia and I really wanted to have another opportunity to coach Wales against the All Blacks," he said.
"Those things are important. They are the two best teams in the world at the moment."
The Lions' first competitive action of their tour next year sees them take on the Barbarians in Hong Kong on 1 June - the day the Top14 final in France takes place.
And that means that Gatland has already fired a warning shots to the likes of Lee Byrne, James Hook, Steffon and Delon Armitage that their position on the Lions Tour could be at risk.
"Ultimately, it may be up to the players," said Gatland.
"Preparation is so tight. If it means players aren't available to get on the plane, it may rule them out.
"You don't want to cut your nose off to spite your face in terms of making those players unavailable if they are really, really important to you."