Spurs fans everywhere were celebrating when they heard the big news…Manu Ginobili will return! Some Spurs fans were praying to their Spurs candles for his return, but they can finally rest easy.
Manu signed a one-year deal with the Spurs organizations. This next season will be Manu’s 16th season with the Spurs and his 17th season in the NBA. Manu is one of the most decorated international players in basketball history: 4-time NBA Champion, 3-time NBA All-Star, Olympic gold medalist, and Euroleague MVP. Ginobili has played in 992 regular-season games and made 212 postseason appearances. Phew – that sounds tiring!
Tony Parker, who is still recovering from an injured left quadricep was excited to hear the good news of his long-time friend and colleague. He shared some strong words about Ginobili. “He’s a legend. Everyone loves him in San Antonio. He is a great player but he is better as a person.”
We might even say that Ginobili is the most beloved member of the team. Many people thought that Manu was finally going to hang up his jersey, but Parker thought otherwise.
“I was confident that it was going to happen [Manu’s return], but I was not sure until I got a message from him when I landed in Argentina, telling me that we were going to play together for a year more, and I was very happy.”
This past season was the first season without Tim Duncan. Could you imagine it was also the last season with Manu Ginobili? Let’s not forget about Tony Parker’s big injury, too. There were some times this past season where the Spurs didn’t even look like the same team we all grew up with because we were missing our Big 3. Maybe, Coach Pop didn’t even want to consider that an option.
One of the biggest influencers of Manu’s decision was Gregg Popovich, of course. Apparently, Coach Pop begged him to return. According to Manu, “He told me that he wanted me to continue and he needed me on the team. If he did not want me, it would have been easier for me.”
During Duncan’s first season of retirement, Coach Pop leaned on Parker and Ginobili to be vocal leaders for the team. Pop says they pay more attention to individuals and have helped push the team to improve. Imagine if each of your team leaders was retiring one after another. Pop needed Ginobili – if not for his plays on the court, at least for his responsibility off the court.
When Manu tweeted about his return, he included #YoungAt40, and don’t we believe it! Manu took his age into consideration for this big decision. He turned 40 years old in July, and it’s too late to take some time off. If he took one year off, he didn’t think he would be able to compete again at 41 years old. “I accepted because it is a great honor to be with such a franchise, at 40 years old, feeling important, with people who tell me that they love me and that I am still important to the team.”
Some might believe that Manu is staying one more season in hopes of winning another championship. Although that might be a pretty good reason to stay, it doesn’t really apply to this situation. Just last season, Manu said the Spurs’ status as title contenders had nothing to do with his desire to keep playing. Of course, he would love to win another ring – that’s always the goal for any NBA player! However, he said that seemed like a silly reason for him to come back.
In the 69 games of last season, Ginobili averaged 7.5 points, 2.7 assists, and shot 39.2 percent from the 3. Although Manu isn’t the player he once was, he came in clutch many times throughout the Western Conference Finals. Remember when he blocked James Harden’s shot and won the game for the Spurs? That’ll be a moment we will never forget. When the Spurs need someone to attack, there’s no doubt Manu will be the first to bite.
Don’t Miss Manu Ginobili’s Last Season with the San Antonio Spurs
If you’re a true Manu fan, you have no excuse NOT to buy a ticket for this next season! This is the last year you will be able to see him in action. The preseason opener is on October 6th at the AT&T Center. Tickets are already available at ZeroNoseBleeds.com. Will we see you there?
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