It took some players longer to realize this than others, but everyone eventually realized you can't really stop Manu Ginobili -- you can only hope to contain him. The one-of-a-kind Hall of Famer became a legend with the San Antonio Spurs for his passion and lovable personality, but make no mistake -- he was a killer on the court.
Never afraid to sacrifice his body for a win or even an extra possession, Ginobili's recklessness was only overshadowed by his drive to ensure a victory by any means necessary. Sometimes, that meant embarrassing guys on the court.
In an episode of Knuckleheads with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles, New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum brought up the Argentine as one of the first guys to give him the business in the league.
"Ginobili -- first of all, he'd be speaking in a different language. Probably talking, 'he can't mess with me' type of stuff. They call an angle and flat at the end of quarters, so he dribbles to halfcourt. He turns his back to me -- first of all, that's mad disrespectful to turn your back to me," said McCollum with a smile.
This is the play Coach Popovich would often run that allowed for Ginobili to get to the rim for a crafty finish or to set up someone else for a shot. In this particular game, Manu used that play strictly to drop buckets.
"He comes at me full speed. Euro, layup. Next play, Euro, layup, and-one. Then he hit me with a stepback. He scored damn near 10 in a row on me," continued CJ. "Coach was like, 'yo,' I'm like, he do this to everybody. What do you expect?"
Manu dropped 29 on Portland in their first encounter
While I'm not sure if McCollum was talking about his first-ever meeting with Ginobili with this story, there's a decent chance he was. After all, the first time he saw court time against Manu in January 2014, he dropped 29 on his club.
That day, Ginobili shot 9-for-17 and also contributed seven boards and five assists. He also buried 4-of-5 shots from deep and made all seven of his free throws.
Meanwhile, McCollum was still a rookie and played 11 minutes that evening in a Portland victory. Later that season, Manu dropped 16 points in a February win over McCollum's Blazers and another 13 in a March win.
I think it's safe to say that unlike Manu Ginobili, McCollum's story of being burned by him isn't one-of-a-kind.