5. Manu Ginobili (2002-18)
Widely considered by most to be the greatest sixth man in NBA history, Manu Ginobili sacrificed what surely would've been an NBA 75th Anniversary Team career for the benefit of the team. Playing for 16 years in San Antonio, his natural abilities were only eclipsed by his unmatched heart, hustle, and passion.
The presence of Manu Ginobili in San Antonio made them one of the most beloved teams among international audiences in the history of sports. He was the ultimate example of a player you hated to play against but would love to have on your squad. He had all the tools to be a top-tier starter throughout his career, yet he only started in one-third of his games with the Spurs.
It's no mistake that the Argentinian's two full seasons of starting both ended in NBA All-Star appearances ('05, '11) and he would've had several more if he wasn't such a selfless teammate.
"Without Manu, there were no championships," said Gregg Popovich at Ginobili's jersey retirement. "His ferocity, his drive, his unbelievable will to win, his competitiveness were off the charts."
Ginobili's name is in the Spurs' record books dozens of times:
- 1st in 3-point field goals attempted and made
- 3rd in games played, 5th in total minutes
- 4th in free throws made
- 5th in total rebounds
- 4th in total assists
- 1st in total steals
- 5th in total points
Manu Ginobili just might be the most beloved Spur the franchise has ever had. Considering the world-class people who've played in San Antonio, that's saying a lot. His efforts recently led to the announcement that he'll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer this September, and he couldn't be more deserving.
Highlight: Manu makes a strong case for a Finals MVP in 2005, averaging 18.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.0 assists against Detroit. He shot 38.7% from downtown in the series and scored 23 in the title-clinching Game 7.