By Adam Gibson | Sports Writer
San Antonio Spurs superstar guard Manu Ginobili announced his retirement from basketball on Monday at the age of 41. Ginobili spent the off-season training at the Spurs facility while he mulled over the thought of retiring.
He made his announcement through Twitter, expressing his gratitude to the fans and the Spurs organization for supporting him throughout his career.
“Today, with a wide range of feelings, I’m announcing my retirement from basketball. Immense gratitude to everyone involved in my life in the last 23 years. It’s been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams.”
Even though I am a Mavericks fan, watching Ginobili play and really coach as a player was fun to watch. It seemed as though no matter what game he was playing in, or how much time was on the clock, Ginobili was someone you could count on to make the play. He was a basketball player through and through and was an integral part of why the Spurs were as good as they were.
Ginobili was first introduced into the league in the 1999 NBA Draft where he was selected in the second round as the 57th pick overall by the Spurs. Ginobili had the type of career that guarantees a spot in the Hall of Fame. With four championships, two NBA All-Star nominations, a gold medal from the 2004 Olympics and many more awards, it is clear that his achievements will get him into the Hall of Fame.
While in the NBA, Ginobili stayed with the same team for 16 seasons, something that is rarely seen by the time a star comes to the end of his career.
The Spurs were filled with talent and superstardom during the span of Ginobili’s career. Future hall of famers Tim Duncan and Tony Parker played with Ginobili for most of his NBA career. The trio was able to make the playoffs every year and contend for the NBA title on five occasions, winning four of those finals. Tim Duncan retired two years ago after 20 years with the Spurs. Tony Parker joined the Charlotte Hornets for this season, ending the trio’s time in San Antonio.
As the last remaining Spur out of the three, it seemed pretty clear the 2017-18 season would be his last. It’s sad to see one of the most-liked players retire from the NBA.
Ginobili impacted the way non-starting players approached the game by being a teammate first and doing anything he could to support the guys around him. His many moments he will be remembered for are knocking a bat down in the middle of a game and blocking Rockets’ James Harden’s overtime shot in the 2017 playoffs to give the Spurs the series lead.
Ginobili was a well-respected player on the court and his teammates made sure to thank him for the knowledge he gave them about the game of basketball. One teammate, Pau Gasol, has played with some of the best players in the league — Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal for instance, and spent time with Ginobili for a couple of years with the Spurs. Gasol was one of the many players who tweeted out to Ginobili on his career:
“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.”