The announcement was hardly a shock to anyone, as Manu's international resume stands as one of the best ever while his NBA achievements only further his greatness. But there was at least one man who surely couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the news.
I'll be doing plenty of honoring and celebrating what Manu did for the franchise and city as his enshrinement gets closer, but for now, I wanted to shed some light on something I stumbled upon recently.
If you've been following Air Alamo at all since I've been in charge, you've probably noticed how much I love to call out everyone from members of the press to players to random users on Twitter. I can't help it -- it's in my nature to try to right what I consider wrong even if it's just through ridicule.
In this instance, it was Spurs Twitter that once again got my attention by pulling a receipt from 2018 from Fox Sports Radio host Ben Maller. Before I came across this tweet and all the hilarious responses to it four years later, I had never heard of this man or anything he's ever said. I was probably better off.
From the title of his article being Manu Ginobili Was Nothing Special to his corresponding radio rant within the post, there's just so much to make fun of with this one.
Ben Maller Goes Crazy About a Man Being Honored
Just to give you some context before even jumping into the ridiculous things the radio host said in his segment, here's a collection of his tweets from around the time Manu was set to retire:
It's very apparent Maller was on a crusade to prove to the world that Manu wasn't deserving of a Hall of Fame nod. But in listening to the radio segment, it's even worse than that. On his show, he appeared disgusted at the mere thought of people giving praise to Manu as he sailed into the sunset.
"It was a day of tribute, dedication. Just on and on for Manu Ginobili," he said. "Clearly worshipped. Idolized. People talking with tremendous love for Manu Ginobili. It's like a public wake. Like he's died and everyone is giving their tributes. A lot of crying going on. People very upset."
Maller's tone is very sarcastic with his over-the-top radio voice reminiscent of Harry Caray as he continues:
"We have a spitting match with compliments. I find the whole escapade nauseating. It's overkill. You would think Ginobili is one of the 10 greatest players in basketball. He's not. Based on the reaction of his retirement, what, are we gonna get nine days of mourning? Are flags going to be lowered to half-staff now? There's a lot of slobbering going on."
This is only half of his rant, but there's already so much to unpack there. I know this was in 2018, but was anything that much different on social media than it is now? I mean, any time a big-name player calls it quits in any sport, we're bound to see fans, players, and teams all jump on Twitter to celebrate his career. The fact that it bothered Maller this much is bizarre and frankly, quite sad.
Maller got the most basic fact wrong
Beyond his strange jealousy or whatever inspired his repeated tweets and rants, what's even worse about Maller's agenda is that he didn't appear to know what the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is even about. In this tweet from five years ago, he typed up his own list of things that should discredit Manu's career. All of them have to do with playing in the NBA.
He literally says "did not have a Hall of Fame worthy NBA career." Well, the Basketball Hall of Fame is about much more than just the NBA. From the Hoop Hall's about page:
"The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, preserving, and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches, and contributors, both domestically and internationally." #Facts.
For a man paid to talk sports to not even realize this for over a year is just embarrassing. Fortunately, Spurs fans were there to set him straight after Manu easily made the Hall of Fame as a first-ballot pick.
Of course, all of that is what Ben Maller wants. Even in his Twitter bio, he calls himself a provocateur, rabble-rouser, professional blabbermouth, and sarcasm specialist. Sometimes, people just don't quite have enough to make it without being controversial and spewing hot takes for clicks, attention, and follows. Think people like Kendrick Perkins and Skip Bayless.
As of now, he hasn't commented on Twitter about Ginobili's big honor, and he probably never will. There are way more topical things to purposely have bad takes about for the sake of engagement, after all.
Someone might want to tell Ben not to tune in to the Enshrinement Ceremony in September, cause I'm guessing there is plenty more of that "nauseating" respect headed Manu's way.