San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili plans to play for his native Argentina with their national team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio according to an announcement via Argentina Basketball Federation.
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Before the Spurs 118-88 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday, Ginobili made the announcement and reached out to Argentine coach Sergio Hernandez to inform him of the guards availability.
“To say that Manu’s availability makes me happy personally is to put it mildly,” Hernandez said. “That is not significant. His was a very brave decision and at the same time very correct, from my point of view. He will be able to end his career with the national team at an Olympic Games. This is the most important news for Argentine sport at this moment. Ginobili is a symbol. Welcome Manu. And now we shall enjoy this.” (H/T ESPN.Com)
Ginobili in his 14th season in the NBA, all with the Spurs, is looking to bring another title to the franchise as they are off to their best start in team history, 60-11. He has been playing internationally for Argentina since 1998. He led his team to a Gold medal.
He is a staple in his native Argentina. Federico Susbielles, Argentina basketball federation President stated Ginobili is a key lead for the team.
“We are happy to receive the news,” Susbielles said. “His presence and participation is very important. He has been a decisive leader in our history, and we hope he continues to be in the future.”
In 71 games this season, Ginobili has appeared in 52 games averaging 19.3 minutes per game. Ginobili still plays a key role in the Spurs success and has put them in prime position to winning their sixth title in franchise history.
In February, Ginobili underwent testicular surgery that sidelined him for 12 games. During that period, the injury tested his strength, physically and mentally. He returned to the Spurs March 6th and did not seem to miss a beat as he finished with 22 points in a victory over the Sacramento Kings.
This season, Ginobili is averaging 9.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.