It’s very likely that we’ve seen Manu Ginobili’s last game of his career, or at least his last game as a San Antonio Spur, as many things pointed that way during San Antonio’s latest playoff loss against the Golden State Warriors.
Manu got the start, so maybe that was a message from Pop, although maybe it was only due to his great performances during the series and a matchup-related strategy from the veteran coach. Besides, the standing ovation he got from everybody when the game finished could also make us feel like that would be Ginobili’s last appearance.
The veteran Argentinian had also pointed out several times that he didn’t know whether he’d retire or pick another year of his multi-year contract, as the next season would be a player option and he was still undecided and wanted to spend some time with his family.
On top of that, there have been several reports that state that the Spurs’ players actually asked him to stay for at least one more year, as he’s (besides Tony Parker) the last leader remaining in the Spurs locker room, as even if Leonard and Aldridge have taken the biggest offensive roles on the team, they don’t provide much vocal leadership due to their personalities.
Retiring or not, Ginobili’s definitely one of the greatest foreign players in the history of the NBA, and today we’ll give you the 5 reasons that made the shooting guard out of Bahia Blanca that great.
1. He came out of nowhere
Besides Gregg Popovich and his staff, nobody in the U.S knew who the hell this kid was, although it was pretty clear that he was the best player in Europe at the moment, but nobody (perhaps not even Pop) knew how much of a dominant player he’d be in the greatest competition in world basketball.
2. He always embraced his role
Ginobili spent most of his career coming off the bench, but he didn’t complain a single time regarding that matter. Manu decided to suck it up and lead the team’s second unit through his entire NBA career, closing out games and being a coach on the floor, being one of the main reasons why the Spurs have been so successful and their system has worked so well during the Popovich era.
3. He never changed a simple aspect of his game
Manu always kept it simple, yet spectacular, and he maintained his style from the very first day he came into the league. That doesn’t mean he didn’t improve, as he was one of the first guys in the gym and the last ones to leave when he arrived in the U.S to improve his physique and stay ready for the most demanding competition in the world.
4. The Leadership
And don't forget clutch blocks...
Ginobili has always been a very vocal player and he hasn’t hesitated to call Pop out during team huddles. Besides Parker and Duncan, he was the longest tenured Spur and was always there for the youngsters, either to encourage them or make them know they weren’t doing things properly, being an awesome teammate and a guy to look up to.
5. The Versatility
Manu has been one of the most versatile players the Spurs have ever seen, being able to attack the rim, stretch the floor, find the open guy, attack the passing lanes or take a charge, showing a vast basketball repertoire that didn’t change a single bit through his time in the Association. Besides, he made the Euro-step a popular move, and he was James Harden’s biggest inspiration as a leftie shooting guard.
And don't forget Manu Ginobili versus The Bat.