Top 10 opponent quotes about Spurs legend Manu Ginobili

Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobili
Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobili / Di Yin/GettyImages
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7. "He continues to play for his country each summer. He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer."

Another lock for being an all-time great, another high compliment. This tribute to Ginobili's relentless motor and ability to compete came from Kevin Durant when asked to share his thoughts.

"You've had a lot of battles with Manu over the years. When you think of him, what's the first thing you think of?" asked a reporter. "His love for the game is deep," responded Durant.

"The most impressive [thing] to me is he continues to play for his country each summer. That's something that should be recognized. He's 39 years old and is playing his tail off. You can just tell how much he loves the game of basketball. He's someone that's a first-ballot Hall of Famer that we enjoy having in this league. A lot of us grew up watching Manu and respecting his game."

6. "You were the main person I looked at when deciding I was gonna be a sixth man for good."

There are a few names that come to mind when thinking of an NBA sixth man. Guys like Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford earned reputations as some of the deadliest bench players in the league, but it wasn't until Manu Ginobili came around that being a sixth man was equated with so much success.

Without a doubt, Manu could've been a perennial All-Star in the league if he was a full-time starter throughout his career. That was made clear when he actually earned that honor for the two seasons in which he mostly started. But his desire for the team to be successful outweighed his desire to be personally successful, and that's what made him the greatest sixth man the NBA has ever had.

Crawford, also considered one of the greatest bench players ever, attributed his decision to come off the bench to Ginobili, showing his admiration for his competitive nature in the process.

Of Manu's 1,057 regular season games played, he started in 349, which amounted to 33%. In the playoffs, he started in 53 of 218 games for 24.3%. For a man of his talent level to take a backseat like that is truly special and may never be seen again.

5. "Great player. Fierce competitor. Winner. Next stop: Hall of Fame."

Sometimes it only takes a few words to accurately sum up another person. Dirk Nowitzki embodied greatness, a fiercely competitive nature, and winning throughout his unbelievable 21-year career, and he has numerous accolades to show for it.

Like Ginobili, Dirk will be a first ballot Hall of Famer when he's eligible, and he was quick to show love to his fellow international star when he hung up the laces in 2018.

"Congrats, Manu Ginobili, on an amazing career," said Dirk. "Great player. Fierce competitor. Winner. Next stop: Hall of Fame."

Ginobili's Spurs got the better of Dirk's Mavs by a count of 28-19 in the regular season and 13-10 in the playoffs. Each guy broke the heart of the other on multiple occasions, and that's what fierce competition is all about.