Although I wasn’t a Spurs fan growing up, I’ve always known about their big 3: Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili. I didn’t know much about Ginobili, but found favor in him solely because he has a Hawaiian name (though now I know it’s just short for Emanuel). After 21 years playing professional basketball, it’s possible he may retire after this season, following in the footsteps of pal Duncan. If that is the case, I hope I can give him a personal sendoff worthy of his phenomenal career.
Ginobili began his professional time with the Andino Sport Club team in 1995-1996 before being traded to the Estudiantes de Bahía Blanca in the Argentine basketball league in 1997. After playing with Basket Viola Reggio Calabria in Italy until 1999, Ginobili entered the NBA Draft where he was picked up by the San Antonio Spurs in the same year. Rather than committing to San Antonio, Ginobili played for Kinder Bologna instead, winning the 2001 Italian League Championship, 2001 EuroLeague, and 2001 and 2002 Italian Cups. He was named MVP of both the EuroLeague and Italian League.
Ginobili moved to Texas in 2002 where he took his spot as a backup guard for the Spurs. Spurs coach Poppovich loved Ginobili so much he incorporated him into the starting lineup, rotating in and out in each game. In his career, Ginobili has played 992 games where he averaged 13.6 points and 3.9 assists as a shooting guard. Ginobili has been a reliable rock over the past 15 seasons in San Antonio. While he may decide to hang up the jersey for the last time, he will be remembered as one of the greatest guards out of Texas.