San Antonio Spurs legend and a member of the fabled ‘Big Three’ alongwith Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili announced his retirement from the sport today, after a career spanning 23 years (16 of which were as a San Antonio Spur in the NBA). He announced his retirement via a tweet: “Today, with a wide range of feelings, I’m announcing my retirement from basketball. IMMENSE GRATITUDE to everyone (family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, fans) involved in my life in the last 23 years. It’s been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams.”
Ginobili’s decision draws the final curtain on one of the most accomplished and unique careers in basketball history. He brought his amazing mix of South American and European flavour to the game, becoming quite possibly the second greatest international player (behind Dirk Nowitzki) to have ever played in the NBA. Manu Ginobili is a four time NBA Champion, two time All Star, 2007-08 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, 2004 Athens Olympics Gold Medalist and a Euroleague MVP.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver chimed in with his thoughts on the Argentinian southpaw: “An NBA champion and All-Star, Manu Ginobili is also a pioneer who helped globalize the NBA. He is one of basketball’s greatest ambassadors who believes in the power of sports to change lives. And for 16 years, we were fortunate to watch a legend compete at the highest level. Thank you, Manu, for a career that inspired millions of people around the world.”
Manu Ginobili featured in 218 playoff games and 1,057 regular season games with the Spurs. He features in the franchise’s top five all time for games played, minutes played, points, assists and steal. At the ripe old age of 40, Ginobili averaged 8.9 points and 20 minutes per game for the Spurs during the 2017-2019 season.
San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan has always raved about the drawing power of Manu Ginobili. Duncan said that no matter where they played, there would be a massive group of Argentinian fans in the arena, waiting to get a picture clicked with Ginobili. Everywhere that the San Antonio Spurs played, there was always a small group of Argentinian fans cheering Ginobili and the team.
Argentinian tennis star Juan Martin del Potro is also a Ginobili fan. After his victory in the US Open, he said this about Ginobili: “He has the talent to continue playing for five years, but we have to respect his decision. Us Argentinians, we are so proud of him. We wish all the best in the new life.”
After being selected 57th overall in the 2002 NBA Draft, Ginobili joined Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to form the ‘Big Three’ in San Antonio. They went on to become the most successful trio in NBA history. The era started coming to a close when Tim Duncan retired in 2016. Tony Parker signed with the Charlotte Hornets earlier during the free agency and now that Manu Ginobili announced his retirement, it has officially been concluded. Incidentally, the 2018-2019 season will be the first time that Gregg Popovich will coach the San Antonio Spurs team without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili in the lineup.
Argentinian newspaper La Nacion published Ginobili’s quote about the timing of his announcment: “I had left the door open just in case, but now I am convinced and happy about the decision I made.”
Manu Ginobili is very well renowned for accepting to come off the bench, despite being fully capable of being a starter. However, his accomplishments in the playoffs are uniquely brilliant. He is the only player along with LeBron James to have 800 rebounds, 800 assists and 300 three pointers during his postseason career.
Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Playoffs, first round against the Golden State Warriors was the last game that Manu Ginobili played. Incidentally, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors Steve Kerr, happens to be a former teammate of Manu Ginobili.
Here is what some NBA players and coaches had to say about Manu Ginobili’s retirement:
LeBron James: Congratulations on one helluva career brother! It was a pleasure to match up against you over the years. Regular season, Finals, National Team, didn’t matter was always a treat! The game of basketball has you to thank for the most swag move in basketball right now which is the “Euro Step”!!!! God bless you, thanks for the playing the game the right way and for the competition!!
Dirk Nowitzki: Congrats @manuginobili on an amazing career. Great player. Fierce competitor. Winner. Next stop: HOF
Chris Paul: Thank you for being a fierce competitor on the court @manuginobili, impacted the game for generations to come! #Ginoooooooooobili
Dwayne Wade: One of the best to ever do it. Thank you @manuginobili for pushing the game forward and for showing players all around the world what i true champion looks like. #HOF
Steve Nash: What a player @manuginobili! A pleasure to compete against you and enjoy your greatness. Congrats!
Kobe Bryant: @manuginobili You are true champion my friend and one of the best I have ever matched up with. Enjoy life after the game hermano. You deserve that and more.
Jamal Crawford: @manuginobili , you were the main person I looked at when deciding I was gonna be a 6th man for good. Your style, talent, competitiveness, and will to win will be truly missed. Nothing but respect! #best6thman
Pau Gasol: THANK YOU for absolutely everything you have done for basketball. A role model for all of us that love this wonderful sport. Fortunate to have shared locker room with you the last 2 years.#GraciasManu
Gordon Hayward: One of the reasons I wear number 20! Congrats @manuginobili on a great career!
Steph Curry: Congrats on an amazing career @manuginobili. You embody how basketball is meant to be played. With Passion, joy, and obviously a Champion through and through. Inspiration many sir.
Dejountey Murray: THANK YOU For Teaching Me What It’s Like To Be A Real PRO On And Off The Court @manuginobili The Game Will Miss You & Forever Remember You!!
Tristan Thompson: What a career!!! @manuginobili #Legend
Steve Kerr: One of the all time greats. Fearless, funny, compassionate and competitive as hell. Thank you Manu!
David Robinson: Manuuuuuu! Noooooo! There has been no one like you, and there won’t be again. You have made us all proud. Enjoy your beautiful family and the next stage of your journey.
LaMarcus Aldridge: I competed against you for 9 years. I sat through countless pregame meetings discussing how not to let you go to your left hand because when you do, you’re impossible to stop! Then, I became your teammate and got to witness first hand how you bring way more value to a team than just scoring. You’re a ultimate competitor and a “team first” kind of guy. You lift the culture in an organization just by simply being around. You were even successful in getting me to participate in more team activities than I have in my entire career. It was an honor competing against you, but even better competing with you on my side. Thanks Manu!
Michael Finley: Congrats @manuginobili on a great career! One of my favorite teammates and friends of all time. Your competitiveness never wavered, rather in a game or practice. I learned so much from you, even in my old age. Thanks #vivabahiablanca #thanksfor2007
Jaron Blossomgame: In my short time and conversations with Manu, he’s a really impressive person off the court. Last year he took the time out to learn a little about me and was the first to remember my birthday. Meant a lot to me.. Thank You @manuginobili
Nikola Vucevic: What a career! So much respect for Manu! Legend! #ThankYouManu
Kent Bazemore: One of my first “welcome to the league” moments. Thank you for what you have done for your fellow lefties and a bringing an unmatched level of creativity to the game. Much respect! @manuginobili the game will miss you! @nba
Jeremy Lin: Big thanks @manuginobili for pouring your heart into the game and inspiring generations!! Cold blooded southpaw! #madeunorthodoxcool
Landry Fields: One of my favorites. The poise, the leadership and the craftiness displayed on the court were all-time. Status: Legendary. @manuginobili #VoodooManu
Wilson Chandler: Ginobili!!
Marco Belinelli: Ci sei stato all’inizio, ci sei stato nel momento più alto… grazie di tutto. Per me sarai sempre un idolo! You were by my side at the beginning, you were by my side in the brighter moment… thanks for all. You’ll be my idol forever! @manuginobili
C.J. Watson: Ja-noooo-bli (Barkley voice)
Jared Dudley: Great career! From his professionalism, selflessness, changing the game by bringing the euro step into the NBA, and becoming a champion!
Rudy Gay: Wow got to play with one of my favorite players in his last season. Thanks for all you did for the game gramps @manuginobili
Brent Barry: Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire teammates. Not one day he didn’t own all three.
Caron Butler: Respect @manuginobili #ginobili #champion