The San Antonio Spurs atoned for a crushing loss to the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals by toppling the Eastern Conference foe in 2014, and Manu Ginobili is a calmer player because of it.
During an interview with Argentinian newspaper La Nacion, the veteran shooting guard discussed how the 2013 defeat altered his persona.
The Spurs held a 3-2 series advantage over Miami and clung to a three-point lead in the final seconds of Game 6, but Ray Allen delivered a clutch triple. The Heat won in overtime, then proceeded to earn a victory in the decisive Game 7.
Ginobili said his mentality changed following the letdown.
"The loss to Miami in 2013 made me change a lot. I’m calmer. That maturity came to me rather late in my character and my career. But there are defeats and defeats. And 2013 was a killer frustration."
San Antonio rebounded the next year, compiling the league’s best record during the regular season, speeding through the Western Conference playoffs and destroying the Heat in five games.
Ginobili capped the team’s redemptive campaign with a thunderous one-handed slam over Chris Bosh.
“The defeat in the final of 2013 allowed me the triumph of 2014,” Ginobili said.
Ginobili mentioned he once thought there was “no way” playing 14 seasons in the NBA was a realistic possibility, especially after entering the league at 25 years old.
Even at 38, though, Ginobili remains a pivotal part of the rotation. The Spurs need the future Hall of Famer to control the backcourt for one more season because without him, the roster lacks a reserve truly capable of handling the ball on every possession.
And if San Antonio meets the already-lofty expectations, Ginobili will finish his career with one final triumph: a fifth NBA championship.