What follows is a translation from Manu Ginobili's column in Argentine newspaper La Nacion.
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The first 48 hours are typically tough. Then you start to digest what happened and come to peace with it. Your body starts to release tension and you sleep better. I can now say that we didn't play well. We had a couple of good games but we were going against a great team which always gives us a lot of trouble. It was a very even series that could have gone either way and it went theirs.
It's a disappointment because we had great expectations, because despite finishing sixth we thought we had a shot. We didn't think anyone was much better than us and I think the Clippers series showed that. We had beaten Houston on the last two matchups and if we had advanced we would have faced Golden State, a team we usually play tough. I'm not saying we would have made the finals but we could have been in the mix. But sometimes things don't go your way and it's better for it to happen now and not on June 20 in a game seven of the finals. In that sense, it wasn't as painful.
I told my wife I didn't want to see the games, at least until I can mourn appropriately. I don't want to watch; it still hurts to watch. It might be arrogance, selfishness. It's like I can't help but imagine us being there. I'm always confident and think we have a chance. That's why until that feeling goes away I prefer to isolate myself. After such a demanding season, with film session after film session, I go "enough, I need to free up my mind." I'm not watching games, just checking the results.
I know a lot of people are interested in what will happen with my career. I'm really thankful for all the words of appreciation and affection I've received. I'm not one to read much of that but I saw some nice comments and that made me feel good. I've been told to play for one more year, that I'm still doing fine but it's not about whether I can do it or not. It's about how hard it is to pack that bag to go from city to city, how it feels to play five games in a week. Or 85 games in 165 days. So it's a moment of uncertainty.
There are times when I go over the season and I say to myself "how can I think about not playing anymore?" and others in which I don't even want to see a basketball. I'm going to wait and see how I feel after a month. If I feel like a former player or not. If I start to miss it and how my body feels. It's a unique moment. I've never been in a situation like this one. In 2013 retiring briefly crossed my mind but a week or 10 days later I felt like it wasn't time, like I was ready to take on another challenge. We'll see. Maybe the same happens this time or maybe it's harder and I have to wait longer. So I'll calmly try to figure out what to do because this is not a decision I want to rush.
Right now I don't feel like there is a wrong decision, no matter what I choose. You never know if you made the right one. It's a very special situation because no one can tell you what to do. Sure, there are a lot of former players that went through it but everyone has their own experiences, they all were in a different situation in terms of their family life, with different physical problems, with different chances to contend.
To stop doing what you've been doing for your whole adult life is a unique moment that fills you with uncertainty. I'm truly not done processing the possibility of retirement because at times it feels like the right thing to do and others it doesn't. I remember when it was time for my brother Sepo. He was 39 years old and when the season started he knew he wasn't going to be able to go through it, so he had made peace with it. I definitely have more doubts, but then again I do tend to think situations more thoroughly. That's why I want to take some time.
Pop said he wanted both me and Tim back for next season. Those words make things harder for me. Had the franchise told me they didn't want me back, that it was time to rebuild and get younger as a team, that would have made my decision much easier. I might have been hurt by that because even if you are standing on a ledge you want to jump on your own and not be pushed down. So it would have been hurtful but it would have made things easier for me. Instead, the opposite happened. Those words really helped me emotionally, gave me a confidence boost. But I'm not at a place in my life where I need the job. It's not about feeling that if they want me back, I'll return, but about figuring out if I really want to keep going, with everything that entails.
I had a couple of great chats with Pop and Tim on our team meeting. We all are in a similar situation, although Pop has made it clear what he's thinking of doing. So Tim and I talked and it feels like we agree that we want to wait a little. We need time to see what happens, how we feel, how our families feel. Our bodies are not what they once were, though in his case, you really can't tell. But you also start thinking about things differently.
Right now it's time for me to be with my family. Many (Manu's wife) told me I have to make this decision on my own and she will support me no matter what. She kind of made it harder for me because I thought we were going to decide as a team. So I'll go back and forth on it for a few days, throwing ideas against the wall and seeing what sticks. She will be OK with my decision as long as it makes me happy.
I don't feel like the team is going to be affected much if some of us don't return. It would be different if they were going into a full rebuild, if Pop, Tim, Tony were all leaving. That would change things. From what I understand it's time to shake things up and change the makeup of the roster, which is understandable. But if Pop and Tim return, that changes everything because that would take pressure off from dealing with teammates and everything else really. So I guess I'll have to get together with Tim, who seems to be standing on the same ledge I am. We'll see which way the wind blows.