The San Antonio Spurs were never going to be the same once Tim Duncan called it quits. Even Tony Parker leaving the team this summer raised some eyebrows. Now, Manu Ginobili has decided to retire from the NBA.
After 16 seasons with the Spurs, which resulted in four NBA championships and the greatest winning percentage in NBA history among players who have appeared in at least 1,000 games, Ginobili has officially put the exclamation point on a legendary 23-year career.
This is the end of an era, one that will never be duplicated but will always be remembered. The game simply won?t be the same without the 41-year-old Ginobili.
“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.”
The No. 57 overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft from Argentina, Ginobili averaged 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 1,057 games donning the Spurs uniform and playing for coach Gregg Popovich.
Only Ginobili and LeBron James have at least 3,000 points and 300 3-pointers made during the postseason in NBA history.
A legendary career, indeed.
Over the years, the left-handed Ginobili wowed fans with his acrobatic finishes, clutch shots, and 762 victories, which resulted in championships in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014.
He also took down a bat in the middle of a game.
Ginobili always got NBA analyst Charles Barkley fired up, too.
Ginobili played professionally in Argentina and Italy before signing with the Spurs before the 2002-03 season. The rest is history.
He is one of seven players in NBA history to spend his entire career with one team while playing at least 16 years, joining Duncan, Kobe Bryant, John Havlicek, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki and John Stockton.
All of those players are or will be in the Basketball Hall of Fame. You better believe Ginobili will be in as soon as he is eligible, too.