When Manu Ginobili was taken out of Monday’s game with 2:25 left in the game, the San Antonio crowd rose in unison to give the popular veteran from Argentina a standing ovation.
Fans yelled, “Ma-nu, Ma-nu!!!”
After the game, Ginobili said the roar of the crowd shook his world. He has spent the past 15 years playing for San Antonio and his accomplishments are well deserving of the possible last send off the home crowd gave him.
The Argentine has not said yet if Monday’s loss of 128-115 to the Golden State Warrior was the last game he would play on an NBA stage, but it felt as if it could be.
Ginobili will turn 40 this July and age defeated all players before him and will do so with all those that follow him.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said Ginobili was put into the starting lineup for Monday’s game out of respect. Popovich was not sure if it would be his player’s last game and he wanted Ginobili to be honored by the home fans for all his selflessness during his 15 years with the team.
The start was Ginobili’s first since March of 2014 and will be a small part of the huge legacy the Argentine takes with him into either next season or a new chapter of his life.
Ginobili is a frenzied, fierce, fearless competitor, who will be a Hall of Fame member on his first ballot. He put his ego deep inside his locker before every game to come off San Antonio’s bench and that produced a bond with current Spurs teammate Tony Parker retired Tim Duncan that produced four NBA titles.
Popovich said that Ginobili is a future Hall of Famer who allowed him to start him on the bench for the last decade because it would make the team better.
Ginobili was drafted with the No. 57 overall pick in 1999. He was not sure about fitting into the league and slept during the draft and did not find out about being drafted until the next day by his club coach.
It took three more years before he would arrive to play with the Spurs and he helped to produce an NBA title for San Antonio during his rookie season.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry said Ginobili was obviously great for basketball, great for the Spurs and great for the NBA.
Warriors star Kevin Durant said he and many others grew up watching the Argentine and respecting the game he had.
Ginobili, Parker and Duncan became the winningest trio in NBA history.