When Manu Ginobili was named with the second-to-last pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, he was asleep. He was with the Argentine national team at a tournament in Brazil, unaware that the recruitment was even taking place. His coach woke him up with the news. “Are you sure?” He said. Aged only 21, he was a goalkeeper for Reggio Calabria in Serie B. He couldn’t believe it.
Ginobili’s professional career was just beginning. He had talent, but he was so far off the NBA’s radar that Rod Thorne, in his announcement of the selection, I don’t know how to pronounce its name. Anonymity was part of the allure of Spurs, who had just won their first NBA title and wanted international prospects to “recruit and hide”.
So with pick number 57, San Antonio acquired a racy left side from Bahía Blanca, a basketball-obsessed port city in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. ESPN give them d In order to recruit them, who also scored a Croatian goalkeeper named Jordan Jericic, wrote, “We will admit we don’t know much about these guys because the president won’t set out on expeditions to Europe.”
Tottenham manager Greg Popovich has said several times that the key to his success was drafting Tim Duncan in 1997. That’s generally true, but it probably underestimates the Tottenham selection two years later.
This pick, arguably the greatest draft pick ever when he was selected, became the heart and soul of the most successful professional basketball team of the century. Manu won four NBA championships and an Olympic gold medal, became a third of one of the three winners in NBA history, and left an indelible mark on the NBA. He popularized the Euro move, revolutionized the role of the sixth man, and played in a unique style that changed the Spurs champion – and In the endAnd the rest of the NBA. It is loved in San Antonio, Argentina, and beyond. And on Saturday, he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
CEO of Tottenham RC Buford He said The first time he saw Manu play “He was like a wild colt out there, just doing shit. Some of it made sense, some of it didn’t.” That never changed, even after he lost his stomach. But the more you watch it, the more logical it makes. He seemed to be out of rhythm at first, upset on the edge of control, until I realized he had a beat of his own.
Manu joined Tottenham in 2002, after another three seasons in Europe. The “wild colt” found himself in a team that prides itself on the arrangement. Its guiding principle, “Shelling the Rock”, was adapted from Stones’ doctrine, quote from a 19th-century Dutch-American social reformer who was hung in a locker room and fostered an unwavering commitment to practicality and toughness. Bob, a former major in the Air Force, attacked from the low post and heralded the defense. Their best player was nicknamed “The Big Fundamental” and his nickname Signature step It was a 12-foot bullet.
On the other hand, Manu was known as nutty goofs. It was smooth but disjointed in a way that made it difficult to defend. Raja Bell once said that he was the toughest player he had ever had to guard. said Bill, who is now a ringer podcaster. “I couldn’t figure it out.” Manu was unable to figure. He seems to have a slightly different relationship to space and time than everyone else on the field. Basketball’s flow is not necessarily predictable, but it progresses with a certain rhythm and rhythm. Good players understand how to operate within the stream; It is the great players who impose it. But Manu had his own way of sabotaging it – to work out of the stream without disrupting it.
Clips from his best plays don’t tell the whole story. A featured YouTube video could convey some of Ginobili’s creativity, but it won’t show how he rocked the game, or how much he can Turn the lump mill into a bucketor a seemingly harmless interception in tapping a toe, a hand nut, and 1 One man break fast.
One of my favorite Manu plays comes from a random-season game, befitting a player who has amassed greatness and recklessness every time. Having lost the number 3, he is set to get a pass from Thiago Splitter near the half of the field. Instead of resetting possession, Manu approached the ball like a third baseman charging a slow ball; He starts his throwing movement before he catches the pass, and with the same movement fires a missile Through the forest of arms to throw wide open. (I’ll always remember this play, but it’s not a play the most ridiculous in category.)
Manu’s quintessential and climax play is for sure dipping Over Chris Bosh in the 2014 Finals win match. Much like Manu’s greatness, it came out of nowhere. He was 36 years old at the time, but the play had all the makings of the old Ginobili drive – a north-south attack; assembly long steps as it approaches the edge; And the bold ending.
(Since there aren’t enough Manu highlights, I’ll leave the following: fake pass That taught Kevin Garnett that anything is possible, or This one is on Kevin Durant; Choose your favorite Leg pass; Close James Harden In the playoffs before the weather was great; Bat slapped in the air And carry her out of court on Halloween; And of course his lines Game winner At the 2004 Olympics, the most iconic shot of his career.)
At Manu, perseverance and ingenuity blend to create beautiful, meticulous drives. Talent and recklessness collide to produce eye-catching highlights – but also head-shaking mistakes.
Manu threw ill-advised passes, bet on the defense, and fired three throws early in the shot clock. All of it infuriated his coach, who rode him hard during his early years and struggled to get him to fit in with Spurs’ long-established style – which in turn frustrated Manu. “It was not easy to adapt to a coach like him, and the need to be a specific part of that game plan,” Manu said. He said Later. Friction between player and team could have caused Manu to sand down or blow up Tottenham.
But in the end, Popovich realized that Manu was running too often—that the occasional turnover or contested shot was a small price to pay for his brilliance. He realized that Manu’s game was driven by a deep desire to compete and that it would be a mistake to lighten it up. “It’s a great winner,” Bob said. “I came to the conclusion that it must be his way more than mine.”
The Manu method has become an integral part of the Spurs method. His competitive spirit gave them ferocity on the court, and his drive and spirit brought them together. When Manu agreed to come off the bench at the expense of his individual stats and star power, he cemented the team-first values that propelled Spurs to protracted success. When Bob grabbed his tongue when Manu’s independent business went awry, it gave him the strength to work outside the strict limits of Spurs’ scheme.
Over time, the tension that characterized the early Manu tenure of Spurs escalated into the Spurs family’s secret sauce. Within a system like Tottenham, Manu’s improvisational exploits have stood out. And in Manu, Spurs found the vitality and unpredictability that made them really cool.
Another favorite distinction sums up this symbiosis. It’s a pass, fittingly, that comes while the attack is flowing, apparently for a determined play – but only Manu considers Patty Mills open here. Manu advances to meet the initial pass, opens up more space along the baseline, and then lags behind because the base side is the only side this pass can realistically reach, given the positioning of Mills’ man and the assistant defender. The Connecting So perfect that Mills seems to catch the ball on its way to the hoop instead of catching it and then releasing it himself.
However, to truly appreciate Manu, it’s important to remember that his bold plays and wild passes didn’t always work, and they never really went away. It is an alternative to the classic sports story of an athlete who breaks his bad habits and matures to greatness. With Manu, you never forget mistakes – and if you do, he will inevitably remind you soon – but through his sheer force of will and genius, you have always overcome them.
Perhaps no sequence captures the duality of Manu’s experience – the swing between frustrating plays and great plays, his bravery to try the latter in spite of the former – better than the first game in the 2013 Western Conference semi-finals. After seemingly costing Spurs the match with an ill-advised shot, Manu hit 3 game scorers Double the extra time. And perhaps no quote captures the feeling of watching Manu better than that given by Pop after the match: “I went from wanting to swap him on the spot to wanting to cook breakfast for him tomorrow morning. That’s the truth. When I talk to him and say, ‘Manu,'” he said, “this is what I do”.
Manu has made his fair share of hardcore decisions on the basketball court, and he didn’t always have a chance to redeem himself after 45 seconds. But he didn’t stop playing hard, he didn’t play with fear, and he never changed. In this sense – meaning it is important – he “bombed the rock”. And after enough ways, the tougher NBA system bent on reflecting its more creative and determined force; Because with a player and someone like Manu, that’s really the only option. You can’t slash a rock with one hit, but if you angle the hammer differently, it might hit something.