With the elimination of the San Antonio Spurs from the NBA Playoffs, the future of Manu Ginobili is still yet to be determined. 15 years into his career at the age of 39 years old, Ginobili is still dancing with the thought of retirement. As he walked off the court, the San Antonio crowd poured in chants of “MANU” not knowing if he would return again. It was a well-deserved moment which meant a lot to Manu Ginobili himself.
Very hard to find the words to describe my feelings after yesterday's game. Still overwhelmed. Thank you SO very much!
— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) May 23, 2017
Whether Manu Ginobili decides to retire or not, his career is still one to remember. 15 years, 2-time All-Star, 2-time All-NBA and a 4-time NBA Champion is quite the resume if you ask me. Ginobili averaged 13.9 points per game, 3.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game during his career. While his numbers don’t jump off of the page, what’s more, meaningful to his career is how he impacted the game.
Manu Ginobili is one of the first players who I remember made coming off the bench cool. Growing up, playing organized basketball everybody wanted to start. The narrative was that only the best players started and if you weren’t apart of that group then you weren’t the best. However, when Manu Ginobili came into the league, he put a whole new meaning into coming off the bench. Ginobili impacted the game as soon as he got in and he anchored the second unit into taking off right where the starting unit did. His great production with the second unit led to him winning a Sixth-Man award in the 2007-2008 season. Manu was always good enough to start but he understood how much better his team would be if he came off the bench. His hard work and unselfishness are a big reason why his team was so successful and why he won four NBA Championships.
Another impact of Ginobili’s was his craftiness. He came into the league and sparked the world with his quickness and creativity. In addition to his left-handedness advantage, he did things on the court that were so unorthodox, one being the Euro-step. While the Euro-step is one of the most prevalent moves in the game today, the rise of this move is strongly due to Manu Ginobili. He made the move popular as he left defenders lost with his slick two steps to the rim. The move got fans out of their seats and with it being such a dynamic and effective move, we’ve seen more and more players using it on a daily basis.
While the retirement of Manu Ginobili is still up in the air, what he means to the NBA and our generation is something that you can’t put a number on. Ginobili was a fun and an effective player. While he didn’t always produce eye-popping numbers, he still impacted the game and other players in many different ways.