Manu Ginóbili, a story of perseverance that culminates in the Hall of Fame

Manu Ginóbili, una historia de perseverancia que culmina en el Salón de la Fama

Unlike his compatriots Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona, his idol Michael Jordan and many other world stars, Argentine basketball player Emanuel Ginóbili slowly and progressively built a career in which achievements, triumphs and titles were desired.

The native of the Buenos Aires city of Bahía Blanca, declared the National Basketball Capital of Argentina, retired in 2018 amid applause and recognition, but his professional growth, surprising for those who knew him at the beginning, was the product of his perseverance, his competitive spirit and his hunger for glory.

The origins of the legend

The best Argentine basketball player in history was born on July 28, 1977 in Bahía Blanca, probably the only Argentine city where the prevailing sport is basketball and not football.

"Manu" He is the youngest of the three children who had the marriage of Jorge Ginóbili and Raquel Maccari. His brothers, Leandro and Sebastián, were also basketball players.

His relatives, former teammates and former coaches agree in stating that, as a child, he was a passionate and willful player, but that he did not stand out or show the level he later reached.

On September 15, 1993, he debuted in the local championship of the Bahiense Basketball Association with the number 6 shirt of Bahiense del Norte. His team won 83-78 against El Nacional with only one point from Ginóbili, then 16 years old.

In his first season he played 16 games and scored an average of 6.5 points per game, but could not prevent his team from relegation.

"At that moment he killed me. I experienced it with great shame, as a disgrace because Bahiense is much more than a club for me. It is my home. My old man dedicated a lot of time to it, my brothers had won titles there. And I, who had not won a single one in training and had only been in the First Division for a year, was going downhill"Ginobili recalled years later.

In 1995 he moved to Andino Sport Club and on September 29 of that year he made his debut in the Argentine National Basketball League (First Division) against Peñarol. He was 18 years old and made nine points, six of them the product of two triples. But his team fell 104 to 85.

The following year he moved to Estudiantes de Bahía Blanca and in 1998 he left his native land, without having managed to win a championship, to play in Europe.

conquering italy

The shooting guard signed for Viola Reggio Calabria, who played in the Italian Second Division. In Ginobili’s first season with the team, he was promoted to the top flight.

His first year in the Italian First Division was very good, averaging 17 points per game and just over 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals per game.

His good level took him to Kinder Bologna, where he established himself as one of the best players in Europe by winning two Italian Cups (2001 and 2002), an Italian League (2001) and a Euroleague (2001), being the most valuable player in most of those competitions.

Multi-champion in the NBA

Ginóbili did not stop his professional growth on October 29, 2002 when he made his debut in the NBA, the most competitive basketball league in the world.

With the San Antonio Spurs he won four rings, three of them in the first five years (2003, 2005, 2007). He conquered the NBA again in 2014, after falling in the 2013 final, always under the wise leadership of coach Gregg Popovich.

It is considered an emblem of the Texan club, which in December 2021 withdrew the number 20 of the Bahiense.

Ginobili, the third Argentine to play in the NBA and the first to be champion, retired on August 27, 2018.

"Today, with a wide range of feelings, I announce my retirement from basketball. It has been a fabulous journey. Far beyond my wildest dreams"posted on social media.

In his 16 seasons in the NBA, he played 1,057 games and averaged 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.3 steals in the regular season and had an effectiveness of 83% in free throws, 37% in triples and 45% in field goals .

Olympic champion and world recognition

Ginobili’s achievements are not limited to what he has achieved at the club level.

The shooting guard took the Argentine team to the top and formed, together with Luis Scola, Juan Ignacio ‘Pepe’ Sánchez, Fabricio Oberto, Andrés Nocioni, Carlos Delfino, Pablo Prigioni and Walter Hermann, among others, the ‘Golden Generation’ of the albiceleste basketball that added 9 medals in international tournaments.

Argentina became Olympic champion in Athens 2004 with a brilliant Ginóbili, who was also key in obtaining the bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and in the runner-up position in the 2002 World Cup in the United States.

During his career, he was showered with praise, not only from basketball stars such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James or Stephen Curry, but also from his most successful compatriots (such as Diego Maradona, Luciana Aymar and Paula Pareto) and athletes of the stature. by Roger Federer.

The Bahian received countless awards and recognitions for his sports career and this Saturday adds a new milestone to his career by becoming the first Argentine in history to enter the Basketball Hall of Fame.


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