Manu Ginobili, a former basketball player who was a member of the San Antonio Spurs for 16 seasons, is considered the last great Argentine star to have played in the NBA. According to a ranking prepared by Bleacher Report, he is one of the 50 best players in the history of this franchise, managing to establish himself as one of the most outstanding Hispanic athletes in recent years.
Ginobili debuted in 1995 with Club Andino, playing in Argentina’s National Basketball League. After a season he signed for the Club Estudiantes, fort he next two years.
He played three years in his country, and later he embarked on Europe, where he wore the colors of Virtus Bologna in Italy, a country in which he stood out for his great ability to dribble and attack the basket, as well as to shoot from long distance and defend. He was truly a threat to any opponent on the court.
In 2002, his journey finally took him to the United States, where he reached an agreement with the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA, a team in which he played all of his career, becoming a key figure.
Ginobili and his route to stardom in the NBA
His career with the Spurs spanned 16 seasons, with more than a thousand games played and 14,043 points scored. At the collective level, he was part of four NBA championship four times (2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014), in addition to getting the runner-up in 2013.
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In 2005 and 2011 he was chosen to the All-Star Game in the Western Conference. Also, in the 2007-08 and 2010-11 seasons he was included in the NBA ideal team.
His best season on an individual level for him was 2007-08, in which he scored 1,442 points, had 109 steals and 332 assists and 33 blocks. Manu played a total of 1,057 games in the NBA and to date is the only Argentine who has surpassed the 1,000 game milestone.
He made the playoffs with the Spurs in almost every year he was in the NBA, the only season in which his team failed to qualify was 2008-09. He played a total of 218 postseason games and is one of the exclusive list of 10 players to reach the 200 playoff games plateau. He is also seventh in postseason three point goals 324 triples.
Manu is the sun in Argentina’s flag
Ginobili was also a key piece of the Argentine National Team. He was part of the so called Golden Generation who had many international achievements, the gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, after beating Italy in the final 84-69. He was chosen MVP of the tournament.
Other achievements in which Ginobili was part include the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Tournament in 2001 and 2011, and the FIBA Diamond Ball in 2008.
In the summer of 2016, when the Argentine National Team was defeated by the United States in the Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Ginobili announced his retirement from international competition. A year later, the Argentine Confederation announced the retirement of his number 5 jersey as a tribute to the basketball player.
In 2018 he announced his retirement from all basketball competitions, after a career of more than 20 years. In 2019, the San Antonio Spurs announced that the number ’20’ could no longer be used by any player in the Texan squad.
A few days ago, the Spurs announced that Ginobili would return to the team as a special advisor.
Next: The Hall of Fame
One of the achievements missing for Ginobili is his enshrinement at the James A. Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, a moment that could come as early as next year, when he reaches the four year wait required after retirement.
Ginobili is undoubtedly one of the best Hispanic basketball players who has played in the NBA and the last great Argentine to do so.