San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: Manu Ginobili on why he retired from basketball

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO, TX - NOVEMBER 28: Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on November 28, 2015 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photos by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - NOVEMBER 28: Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on November 28, 2015 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photos by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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One day after Manu Ginobili’s retirement from the San Antonio Spurs, he penned a letter to everyone on why he made this decision.

Manu Ginobili closed the book on his San Antonio Spurs and NBA career Monday, with a retirement announcement after 16 seasons. With four championships and other accolades behind him, it made for a potential Hall-of-Fame career.

Why did Ginobili step away, though? He elaborated in a penned letter on La Nacion, translated into English via Google Translator.

Ginobili said he waited for something to “wake” him to continue playing, which led to workouts to try to prep for the season. However, after he saw the younger players and realized ailments from the 2017-18 season were still in play, it only pushed towards Monday’s announcement:

It is that [Gregg Popovich] still wanted to leave that option in case to return to San Antonio something would wake me the desire to continue and call me back to the court, but the opposite happened. I came back and started doing weights, grabbed the ball, watched the younger ones train and break their backs to be well for the preseason and me, however, I still hurt the last two strokes of the previous season. Little by little I was convinced of the decision to make.

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Ginobili also said he did not have anything left, due to playing until he reached 40 years old (he would have played the 2018-19 season at 41). However, he dove into his thought process of the past three years, with an explanation for why he still played:

I can also say that I did not want anything, I played until I felt like it, some have to retire due to injuries or other issues ahead of time, but I played until I was 40 years old. The truth is that I did not have anything left pending. What’s more, I gave myself the gustito in the last three years of playing as one would like to do with his friends, without feeling the pressure of being exclusively responsible for what might happen, with the feeling of ‘I already gave everything I could’ . I played because I liked doing it, for my respect and appreciation of the place I was.

Ginobili stuck around for his friends and a lack of pressure, as a role player that appeared in 20 minutes or fewer per game, none of which included a start, something he last did in the 2013-14 season. Instead, team pressures placed on Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Danny Green and others that led the Spurs.

Even with the full-fledged roster change in July, Ginobili could have returned to his old role. With new faces that arrived through trade and free agency, along with the familiar faces, including Tony Parker who left, it would not resemble what Ginobili played with for the past three years, potentially reigniting pressure to succeed, especially as the Spurs project to finish around the playoff borderline.

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Ginobili left on his own terms, though, to start life after basketball and enjoy time with his family. Now, Spurs fans can celebrate that and everything he did for the organization since 2002.

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