“In The Scope With Joshua M. Hicks” is a weekly column from the lead columnist of WARR
San Antonio Spurs legend Emanuel “Manu” Ginobili made it known this week that he will be retiring as a San Antonio Spur after 16 years in the NBA and over 20 in professional basketball at large.
Ginobili’s retirement officially closes an era for the Spurs, one of the greatest extended runs in NBA history.
Along with the recent departure of Tony Parker as a free agent and Kawhi Leonard by trade, following future first ballot Hall of Famer Tim Duncan’s retirement in 2016, means that the longtime San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich has outlasted all of the key members of the Spurs’ last championship team in 2014. Duncan’s reign, of course, dates back to 1997 and the first of San Antonio’s five championship runs in 1999.
When Spurs training camp opens for the coming season, it will be the first in Popovich’s 22 full seasons running the team without Ginobili, Parker or Duncan present.
As for the Argentinian wizard, he finished his career at the highest level with career totals of 14,043 points, 1,392 steals, 4,001 assists and 3,697 rebounds and countless highlights.
Manu let the world know via Twitter.
Manu helped change the game in a variety of ways upon his entrance into the league as the 57th overall pick in the second round of the 1999 draft, pioneering a new athleticism that could be attributed to foreign-born players in the NBA and showing that athletes from nations as previously slept on as Argentina could play basketball on its biggest stage. Ginobili was a 4-time champion for his NBA home (2003, 2004, 2007 and 2014) as well as a gold medal winner (2004) and bronze medal winner (2008) for Argentina in the Olympics.
Among the awards Ginobili earned in America were his All-Rookie Second Team placement in 2003, Sixth Man of the Year in 2008 and All-NBA Third Team recognition both in 2008 and 2011.
We also certainly cannot his contributions to bringing the Euro step to the league –which is arguably now the most pervasive transition move in basketball — and the bravery Ginobili took in stopping a bat from terrorizing a game in the AT&T Center with just one mighty swing.
However, the most important attribute that made Manu standout was his unselfishness and how that trait made him fit so perfectly in one of the most selfless winning teams ever.
Ginobili averaged over 15 points a game in seven of the 16 years he played in the league, and averaged double-figured scoring in 13 of those 16 years, along with his muted scoring (over 13 a game) he provided around 4 rebounds and assists per game on 53 percent field goal efficiency, 47% shooting, 37% from the 3-point line and 83% from the free-throw line.
Ginobili had the talent of a starter yet he played in every role possible for his team to continue a tradition of winning and played a significant role in creating a legendary legacy, his path to success is a path that we all must follow to be a part of something bigger than us, the winning team and to embrace having a winning life.
Manu, thank you so much for your contributions to the league. I can’t wait to listen to your inductee speech in Springfield as a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Chicago-based sports writer and broadcaster, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio