San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili receives a heartfelt standing ovation from the Spurs faithful, as he may have played the last game of his NBA career.
For the last 15 years, guard Manu Ginobili has been the best spark off the San Antonio Spurs bench that head coach Gregg Popovich could have ever asked for. Ginobili is a four-time NBA champion, a two-time NBA All-Star and made two All-NBA teams.
Shortly before the San Antonio Spurs were swept in the 2017 Western Conference Finals at home by the Golden State Warriors, Popovich pulled Ginobili from the game on last time. This was done for the San Antonio faithful to pay respect to one of the best foreign players the NBA has ever seen.
At the 2:25 mark in the fourth quarter with the Spurs down 124-108, Popovich would pull Ginobili from the game. Ginobili would exit Game 4 with 15 points and 7 assists in 32 minutes of action.
Ginobili is considered to be the greatest Argentinian basketball player. He helped Argentina win a gold medal in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. As Ginobili left the AT&T Center hardwood, everybody came to terms that this might be the last game of his illustrious basketball career.
Ginobili is 39 years old, but hasn’t said publicly that this is his last NBA season. Just last spring, the Spurs saw its greatest player in franchise history in power forward Tim Duncan take a few weeks to gather his thoughts after a 19-year NBA career and retire.
Theoretically, Ginobili could do the same. However, it was still incredibly class of Popovich to allow the Spurs faithful to his this opportunity to praise Ginobili for all he did for the Spurs organization. He will go down as one of the greatest sixth men in NBA history. Ginobili helped establish basketball as a truly international sport.
When he does decide to call it a career, it will be strange to know that another piece of the Spurs Big Three will no longer be playing. Ginobili is without question a Basketball Hall of Famer. His impact on the game of basketball was profound and who knows how many players across the globe he has influenced?