Manu Ginobli hung up his sneakers after 16 years of playing in the NBA.
Me personally, I am a big time fan of Ginobli's. He was one of the most selfless players I have watched in the NBA. He was the perfect third option behind Tony Parker, and one of my all time favorite players, Tim Duncan. I know he came off the bench in San Antonio, but lets be realistic, he was the third of their own "big three".
What else I truly appreciated about Ginobli's game, he was an exquisite passer. He was one of the best that I have seen at his position. He would whip the ball to guys slashing to the basket, find the open shooter on drive and kick outs and always put the ball into the shooters hands in perfect shooting position. He was the epitome of a Spurs player, and that was mostly due to his passing. He fit in perfectly with what Greg Poppovich and his staff wanted him to do. And while he was an exceptional passer, the dude could also score in very unique ways. He could hit open jumpers with the best of them. But it was his drives to the basket that truly astounded me. He would find the smallest opening, jet through it and find a way to reverse it in, or hit a hard layup. The way he split a double team was incredible. The screen would come, both guys would come to him, but Ginobli found a way, some way, to split it, go to the hoop and score, draw a foul or find the open guy. It was always amazing. I would always be shocked and just confused how he did it, but he did it and he did it great. And while he wasn't a top notch defender, he made plays when he needed to. Take for instance the block against James Harden. He got beat, then reset himself, and when Harden pulled up, thinking he was open, Ginobli swatted his shot from behind for the win. It was pure Ginobli and pure Spurs. He just did it all.
Ginobli also sacrificed numbers, and a lot more money than he already made, so he could win titles. He wanted to be a champion. That was what mattered to him and Duncan the most. They wanted to have rings. They turned down bigger offers from lesser teams because they wanted those rings. Ginobli also sacrificed minutes because he wanted what was best for his team. He could have easily been a starter and played 30 plus minutes a night, but that was not what the Spurs needed. They needed him to come off the bench, play 20-25 minutes a night and do all the little things that they needed to get wins. And he did it all with zero complaints. That was another thing I loved about Ginobli, he never complained and was never in the news for any wild off court stuff. He went about his business and he went about it quietly.
Also, let us not forget that Ginobli was the leader of the Argentina team that destroyed Team USA basketball. He was the main reason why that whole organization had to regroup. Ginobli led a well oiled machine for Team Argentina, and they made Team USA look bad.
I have also heard some pundits questioning if he is going to be a Hall of Famer.
Are they out of their god damn mind?
Manu Ginobli is, without a doubt, a first ballot Hall of Famer. That is not even a viable question. That is a ridiculous question. I know he may not have glowing numbers, he was only an All Star twice and he wasn't the face of the franchise, but come on. He was just as important to this team as Parker and Duncan were. He is, most definitely, a Hall of Famer.
While Ginobli has earned his retirement, it is kind of sad to me. This is the end of an era. Duncan retired 2 years ago. Parker is now on the Hornets and Ginobli called it quits this week. The Spurs will never be the same to me. Sure, they have very good guys on the team right now, and I still fully believe in Poppovich, and I think they will still be a playoff contender. But, their three star are gone. That is crazy to me.
One last thing I want to share about Ginobli. If you haven't seen the video, or if you just forgot, go watch him knock that bat out of midair during a timeout in a game. It was incredible. I was stunned and amazed that he was able to do that. Think about the hand eye coordination and quickness that took. It was quintessential Manu Ginobli.
Enjoy your retirement Manu. You have earned it.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. If a bat gets into the SeedSing virtual cubicle farm, we all hide and wait for Manu Ginobli to come and take care of it.
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