2. Manu plays his role in most dominant trio in NBA history
This isn't so much one particular moment as much as it is one giant dominant period in sports history, but this can't go unaddressed. Manu Ginobili was one-third of the most successful trio any sport has ever seen, and I'm betting he values his role in that accomplishment above everything he ever did in the NBA.
To show you just how dominant Tim, Tony, and Manu were for so long, just take a look at this graphic from NBA analyst Kirk Goldsberry.
As Herm Edwards once so eloquently said, "you play to win the game." The trio did so much winning that they needed their own tier of real estate on the above graph just to accurately show what they accomplished.
In the end, The Big Three won 575 regular season games and 126 playoff games as a unit, winning 50 games in every season and 60 or more five times. While Tim Duncan nabbed a title before the arrival of Parker and Ginobili, they reached the pinnacle four more times in their time together.
So much can be said about Manu's individual game, but knowing his character, he'd be quick to credit those around him when asked what the biggest highlights of his basketball career were. Because of that, his dynasty with the other two-thirds of the Big Three lands at number two.
Individually, Manu stands alone as the player with the highest winning percentage in NBA history with a 72.1% mark.
1. Manu Ginobili leads Team Argentina to gold in the 2004 Olympics
The NBA has long been home to the greatest basketball players in the world, and as a result, Team United States would expectedly win gold at the Olympics every four years. In 2004, that all changed when Manu Ginobili and Team Argentina hit their stride.
Although some blame can be put on the U.S. for thinking they could haphazardly throw a team without chemistry together and win on talent alone, that can't take away from just what the Argentines did.
With Manu Ginobili spearheading the team and other big-time talents like Luis Scola, Fabricio Oberto, and Andres Nocioni, they shocked the world by not only going all the way and winning gold but defeating Team USA in the process.
"It's very hard to compare that feeling -- that achievement -- with anything else because you are just not supposed to be there," said Manu Ginobili after being announced as a Hall of Famer. "Argentina was not supposed to be playing the States or go for a gold medal, so achieving that type of recognition with a bunch of friends that you basically grew up [with], it's something beyond comprehension. No words can really do justice to that feeling."
Manu's efforts awoke the entire world and made it no longer a foregone conclusion that the U.S. could be stamped in as the best international team every time they hit the court.
Winning four titles with the San Antonio Spurs made Manu Ginobili a legend, but winning gold in Athens in 2004 made him an international icon.
Manu Ginobili Week continues here with a fun, what-if look at a world in which Manu was drafted first in 1999.