Manu Ginobili announced his retirement from international basketball after Argentina’s loss to the United States in the quarterfinals of the Olympics in Rio.
Argentina, and especially Ginobili saw their quest for another medal come to an end as they were eliminated by Team USA as Argentina reached the Quarter-Finals. USA defeated Argentina 105-78.
After the game, Ginobili touched on his experience with his Argentina National Team and what he feels now at the age of 39 playing the game he loves, for his country. “This is my 20th year since my first game with the national team,” Ginobili said. “I’m very proud. And at the same time, I’m happy – sad and happy because having the opportunity to play this game at 39, it’s not something that happens often.
“…no one could have represented his country at a higher level or better than Manu Ginobili.” – Coach K On Ginobili
Ginobili has been the staple of Argentina basketball and gave everything he had in competition. This struck the eye of USA Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K gave the ultimate praise to Ginobili.
“A hall of fame player, a hall of fame competitor and as fierce a competitor, as a coach, that I’ve had to face in my entire time in international basketball,” Krzyzewski told reporters after the game. “There really has been nobody completely like him.
Fans across the world can come to an agreement on what Coach K had to say on Ginobili. At the age of 39, Ginobili asks the question on how many athletes can still compete at a high level as he is continuing to do. He praises that he is extremely lucky.
“How many athletes are my age, especially basketball players? I’m so incredibly lucky to have
stayed healthy, to have played with some of the same guys for so long and having done so well with my team – it’s been an amazing run. I’m very proud of it.”
Ginobili has become the go-to-player for not only his native Argentina but during his career with San Antonio. He is the first to come off of the bench for San Antonio. There is not one position that Ginobili can play, with his abilities, he can be inserted where needed. Coach K also spoke on this.
“He’s not a position. He plays all positions. With the heart and the commitment he’s had for his country, no one could have represented his country at a higher level or better than Manu Ginobili. It was an honor to always compete against him and again, ultimate respect, from all of us.”
Ginobili is heading into his 15th season with the Spurs. He has won four NBA titles and this season hopes to become a mentor to the younger core that has been assembled.
If there is one thing that Ginobili has shown during his play in Rio, he can still play at the rightful age of 39, and will continue to give everything he has on the floor once the season begins.