Manu Ginobili announced his retirement from the San Antonio Spurs Monday, marking the end of a 16-year career.
Manu Ginobili’s status with the San Antonio Spurs for the 2018-19 season remained in doubt through the offseason. At age 41, and after 16 seasons, there was no indication of the decision’s potential direction.
Well, on Monday, through the Spurs website and a tweet from the man himself, Ginobili retired. It marked the end of a 23-year career in professional basketball, which included a stint overseas after San Antonio selected him.
Today, with a wide range of feelings, I'm announcing my retirement from basketball. IMMENSE GRATITUDE to everyone (family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, fans) involved in my life in the last 23 years. It's been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams. pic.twitter.com/3MLCUtmd6K
— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) August 27, 2018
Ginobili’s retirement closes the book on an NBA career that began in 1999, with the Spurs selection of him in the second round. It took him three years to join the team, but he arrived for the 2002-03 season, and at the proper time, as this Spurs squad won the 2003 NBA Finals over the New Jersey Nets.
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This hardly became Ginobili’s only accomplishment over his 16 NBA seasons. He made two All-Star games, won the 2006-07 Sixth Man of the Year award and claimed three more championships in 2005, 2007, and 2014.
The 2018-19 season marks the first since 1996-97 that San Antonio’s roster will feature none of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker or Ginobili, the franchise’s “Big 3.” Duncan retired in 2016, while Parker left for the Charlotte Hornets in March. With the trade of Kawhi Leonard, as well, the franchise’s foundation that won championships over the past two decades sits depleted, aside from head coach Gregg Popovich, who’s 69 years old.
Despite the changes, Spurs fans will remember Ginobili as an icon over the past 16 years. His memorable plays, loyalty to the organization and the fanbase’s love for him will never go away, and it makes him one of the best to wear the Silver and Black.
One day, Ginobili’s No. 20 will sit in the rafters at the AT&T Center, joining the recently retired Duncan, David Robinson and others. It will be a worthy place for someone who gave his all to this team for 16 years, something no one will forget.