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Reflecting on Manu Ginobili’s basketball career and his legacy with San Antonio Spurs

Reign Amurao
Manu Ginobili
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Manu Ginobili is one of the best international players of all time. At a time when so many NBA players are hated by sections of fans, Ginobili was beloved even by those who didn’t root for the San Antonio Spurs. Of course, that’s just part of his legacy.

The 6-foot-6, crafty guard has set a gold standard when it comes to winning. He’s been retired from basketball since 2018, but that doesn’t mean fans have forgotten how great he was. Ginobili will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year. As a tribute to the legendary player, let’s look at how he’s impacted the game of basketball. 

Related: 2023 NBA mock draft

Manu Ginobili’s impact is not just in the NBA but across the globe

Coming from Argentina, Ginobili experienced a winning culture early on. His stretch in the EuroLeague helped shape him as a winner and the ultimate teammate. In the EuroLeague, he became a champion, a Finals MVP, and an All-EuroLeague First Team member. That’s just part of his international awards, he’s also an Italian league champion, All-Star, Italian league MVP, and an Olympic gold medalist.

The famous Olympic run with the Argentinian national team is one of the most celebrated teams in basketball history. The 2004 team in Athens set a gold standard for international basketball. With Manu Ginobili leading the way, the Argentinian team showed everyone how to win through team basketball.

PPGPoints3PMs3PT %Corner 3s
Manu Ginobili stats13.3 PPG14,0431,49540.5%38.6%
Statistics via Basketball Reference

Entering the NBA as a 57th pick, not much was expected from him. But, he immediately caught the attention of everyone as he showed how talented he is. With the Spurs, he continued being a winner. In my opinion, his 16-year NBA career is even more impressive than what he’s accomplished internationally.

Ginobili had a grand career with four NBA titles, a Sixth Man of the Year award made the All-Star game twice, and is one of the players in NBA history with the highest winning percentage. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is. His “controlled chaos” style of play is also one of the reasons he’s loved in the league. Ginobili will forever be associated with the Spurs, and that’s because of how much he’s helped the franchise win multiple titles. The Spurs have achieved their status as one of the model organizations around the league and Ginobili is one of the big reasons behind it.

“I never won a scoring championship, an MVP, even First Team. I’m here because of my surroundings. The players I played with, the coaches, and the organization. I don’t take it as an individual achievement. I’ve been in the right place at the right time.”

Manu GInobili on his career with the San Antonio Spurs (H/T Michael Scotto)

Ginobili’s impact on the league is still felt around the association to this day. Players still use the Euro-step, which Ginobili helped popularize in the NBA. He also made the Sixth Man of the Year award as one of the prime achievements a player in the NBA could have. Dubbed by many as the “greatest sixth man of all time,” Manu’s career was spectacular. He has opened the doors for many international players to pursue their dreams of making it into the big leagues. Even American-born NBA players like D’Angelo Russell have expressed how they admire the Argentinian national. 

San Antonio struck gold when they got a draft day steal with the Hall of Famer. Ginobili learned a lot playing for the Spurs and they did an excellent job understanding him as a player. There will never be another player who paves the way like Ginobili, a winner through and through who helped the NBA embrace international scouting more and he helped shape an NBA dynasty.