San Antonio Spurs’ guard Manu Ginobili will play in this summer’s Rio Olympics as his very last in international competition.
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Ginobili will don a uniform with the Argentinian National team for one final tournament in the Rio Olympic games, and hang it up for good after years of service to his country.
There is a fantastic story in the wings, because Ginobili has been a part of a pretty exciting Argentinian National Team run since coming onto the scene in basketball. Ginobili helped lead Argentina to a surprising upset over the star assembled Team USA in the 2002 FIBA World Games, and, helped win the gold for his home country, which opened the door for him to take the next step into the NBA.
Monday night, Ginobili played his last game in Argentina as they defeated Team France 86-79 in an exhibition game in front of the home crowd. Tony Parker did not play in this game; however Ginobili scored 15 points in the win.
After the game, Ginobili had a chance to say goodbye to the fans as he walked off the court, and after an emotional interview, knowing he would never be back, and giving the crowd something to cheer about one last time.
If anyone has the right to be emotional over this moment, it is Ginobili. He has poured his heart and soul for the Argentinean Team on the court. One of the biggest joys in his basketball career was to play in front of, and for his country so playing this last time is something that has been in his heart, even when he mulled retirement earlier this summer.
This all eerily foreshadows the fact that Spurs fans might have to brace themselves as well.
After the Olympic games in Rio, Ginobili will give his all for the San Antonio Spurs, and end his basketball career for good.
What we saw happening on the floor in Argentina is a shadow of things to come for San Antonio very soon. He would love to leave winning a championship, but that is a big question mark with Duncan being retired, and the roster half full of new players, not knowing how quickly and how well the chemistry will develop this year. This is truly a time where an end to an era is upon us.