Manu Ginobili Describes Why He Returned: “The Fire Is Still Burning”

By David Kenyon

Manu Ginobili couldn’t bring himself to watch the NBA playoffs immediately after the San Antonio Spurs lost their first-round series to the Los Angeles Clippers.

But once he turned on the NBA Finals, Ginobili started to feel the itch to come back for his 14th NBA season.

In Argentinian newspaper, La Nacion, the 37-year-old explained why he’ll return to the San Antonio Spurs. Ginobili wrote:

“I didn’t watch the second round of playoffs, nor the Conference finals. I was still I bit hurt. Then, when I watched the finals. I missed it a little. I felt that itch telling me I wanted to play again. The fire is still burning.”

Ginobili said before making the decision to return or retire, he wanted to make sure there were no lingering doubts.

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“When it comes to taking such a turning point decision for your life as it is retiring, there can be no doubts. Some days I woke up saying I was quitting. Some days I would be sure to stay. But for such a relevant decision, I needed to be a 100 [percent] sure. Once I said yes, all my doubts vanished.”

Ginobili noted that San Antonio signing LaMarcus Aldridge was one major influence, since the Spurs are entering new territory. The franchise had never acquired a high-profile free agent on a long-term contract.

“I am very excited about what’s coming. The addition of a player like LaMarcus Aldridge, one of the best in the NBA nowadays, is very important. That’s quite a change for our image.”

However, in an effort to clear the necessary cap space to obtain Aldridge, San Antonio was forced to depart with starting center Tiago Splitter and three reserves—Marco Belinelli, Aron Baynes and Cory Joseph. Ginobili said he’d miss his former teammates but is optimistic about the future.

Ginobili will play alongside Patty Mills, Boris Diaw and David West in the Spurs second unit. San Antonio is expected to sign a three-point specialist to complete the reserve group, otherwise, second-year guard Kyle Anderson may join the rotation.

As has been the case in recent years, San Antonio will rely on Ginobili to handle the ball, while Mills contributes as an off-ball mover and spot-up shooter.

Next: Manu Ginobili: Contract Details Released for Spurs Guard