In a year that has been full of them, it is a sad day for Spurs fans. Manu Ginobili — who spent his entire 16-year NBA career in San Antonio and played a huge role in leading them to four championships as part of the Big Three — has officially announced his decision to retire from professional basketball.
Today, with a wide range of feelings, I'm announcing my retirement from basketball. IMMENSE GRATITUDE to everyone (family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, fans) involved in my life in the last 23 years. It's been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams. pic.twitter.com/3MLCUtmd6K— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) August 27, 2018
Today, with a wide range of feelings, I’m announcing my retirement from basketball. IMMENSE GRATITUDE to everyone (family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, fans) involved in my life in the last 23 years. It’s been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams.
While it felt like the longer it took Ginobili to make his decision, the more likely it seemed that he would return, it was hinted last week that he was strongly leaning towards retirement, and now that has been confirmed.
Here is the Spurs’ official press release:
San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili today announced that he will retire after a 23-year professional career.
In 16 seasons with the Spurs, Ginobili captured four NBA championships while posting a career winning percentage of .721 (762-295), which is the best winning percentage in NBA history among players who have appeared in at least 1,000 games.
Ginobili, who was selected by San Antonio with the 57th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, appeared in 1,057 career games, averaging 13.3 points, 3.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.32 steals in 25.4 minutes. He is the Spurs all-time leader in three-pointers made (1,495) and steals (1,392), while ranking third in games played (1,057), fourth in assists (4,001), fourth in free throws made (3,380) and fifth in points (14,043). Ginobili was named to the All-NBA Third Team in both 2008 and 2011 and was a two-time All-Star (2005 and 2011). The 2008 NBA Sixth Man of the Year is the first sixth man, as well as the first South American, to earn All-NBA honors.
The four-time NBA champion appeared in 218 career playoff games, averaging 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.34 steals in 27.9 minutes. Ginobili and LeBron James are the only two players in NBA postseason history with at least 3,000 points and 300 three-pointers in the playoffs. One of 10 players ever to appear in over 200 playoff games, he came off the bench 165 times and is the all-time leader in NBA postseason history as a reserve in points (2,014), assists (576), rebounds (635), steals (205), field goals made (630), three-pointers made (226) and free throws made (528). Ginobili and teammate Tony Parker combined to record 132 playoff wins together, which is the most victories by any duo in postseason history.
Ginobili is one of just seven players in NBA history to spend his entire career with one team while playing at least 16 seasons, along with Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, John Havlicek, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki and John Stockton. He is the first South American and just the second player drafted in the second round or later to appear in at least 1,000 games with one team.
Before signing with the Spurs in the summer of 2002, Ginobili played professionally in Argentina and Italy. He was named the 2001 EuroLeague MVP after leading Virtus Bologna to the EuroLeague Championship. In addition, Ginobili was named the Italian League MVP in both 2000–01 and 2001–02.
Ginobili played for the Argentinian National Team from 1998 to 2016, leading his home country to the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, a silver medal in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics. Ginobili is one of only two players in history, along with Bill Bradley, to win a EuroLeague title, an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal.
Ginobili joined the club before the 2002-03 season and instantly became a league-wide sensation with his care-free style of play, seemingly impossible passes, and the introduction of the Euro step. He was a perfect compliment to the “boring” Spurs, and combined with his Latin heritage and activity within the Spurs community, he quickly became an all-time fan favorite.
With the departure of him and Parker this summer (and Tim Duncan two years ago), the Big Three era is officially over for the Spurs. Patty Mills, who joined the club in 2012, is now the longest-tenured player on the team and, along with the recent returned of Marco Belinelli, the only hold-out from the 2014 championship team.
There will be plenty more discussion on the legacy of Ginobili here at Pounding the Rock, but in the meantime feel free to discuss your favorite Manu Memory below, and be sure to go check out the official “Gracias Manu” page at Spurs.com.