Gregg Popovich had a lot to cover at Media Day — too much to cover in one sitting — but one question everyone knew would come was regarding Spurs legend Manu Ginobili’s return to the franchise as Special Adviser to Basketball Operations. It only took three minutes into the interview, and after joking that the way he got Manu back is because his wife Many “needed him gone”, Pop dove deeper into what the job actually entails:
Whatever he wants. He’s going to do everything. He’s going to help (general manager) Brian (Wright) in management. He’s going to help me with coaching. He’s going to help the players with development. He’s probably going to go scout some people. I think he’s probably going to figure out a two-week trip to Italy to scout foreign players. I’ll go with him . . but I’m being serious, he’s going to do all those things and see where he feels comfortable. It’s just great to have him in the program for all kinds of reasons, but mainly because we love the guy, and he’s Manu Ginobili, so who wouldn’t want to have him around?
The fact Manu will be testing all the different waters of front office work makes it sound like he’s just getting started, and this won’t be a one-off like Tim Duncan’s single season as an assistant coach. (Which to be clear is not a knock on Duncan; he did it because Pop needed him, not because he “wanted to”. It’s just amazing to know that a whole new chapter of Manu and the Spurs may be just beginning).
As an added bonus, did anyone notice a certain line from Pop in there? Whether he was intentionally quoting himself or not, it harkened back to one of his more famous sideline interviews:
Welcome back to the Spurs, Manu!