It takes three years to be elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and sometimes organizations will wait even longer after a player retires to hang his jersey in the rafters. Not when you are the San Antonio Spurs, however, and not when one of the most beloved figures in the franchise’s history already had a spot inside the AT&T Center for years.
A little more than two months after Manu Ginobili ended his legendary 23-year run on the hardwood, including 16 seasons wearing the silver and black, the Spurs announced it will retire the No. 20 jersey during a special ceremony when the team plays the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 28, 2019.
If this at all seems rather quick, it is, but it’s definitely not premature. The 6-foot-6 Ginobili belongs next to Bruce Bowen (12), Tim Duncan (21), Sean Elliott (32), George Gervin (44), Avery Johnson (6), Johnny Moore (00), David Robinson (50), and James Silas (13). Tony Parker’s No. 9 jersey will be there in Texas in no time after his NBA career is complete, too.
The No. 57 overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, Ginobili won four NBA championships, was selected to two NBA All-Star teams, and holds the best winning percentage in NBA history among players who have player in at least 1,000 games (.721).
The Argentina native, now 41, is one of only two players in basketball history (Bill Bradley) to win a EuroLeague title, an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal.
Needless to say, this is more than deserving and it was only a matter of time.
The Spurs just wasted no time to make sure the beloved Manu was honored as quickly as possible.
It’s definitely not the first or last time the franchise will be saying #GraciasManu, either.