Top 10 opponent quotes about Spurs legend Manu Ginobili

Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobili
Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobili / Di Yin/GettyImages
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2. "You are true champion and one of the best I have ever matched up with."

Remember what I said earlier about being complimented by all-time greats? I couldn't get through this list without mentioning perhaps the best shooting guard ever and a representative of the Spurs' biggest rivals throughout their dynasty.

Kobe Bryant has frequently brought up how Ginobili's Spurs are the only reason he didn't retire with several more championships to his name, and the same thing applies the other way around. Throughout their frequent battles both in the regular season and playoffs, mutual respect was always evident between the unorthodox but effective Ginobili and the fearless Bryant.

When Manu Ginobili announced his retirement, Bryant gave quite the compliment to Manu, calling him one of the best he ever matched up with.

Considering he played for 20 years in the league with countless legends, Bryant's words mean a lot.

San Antonio Spurs
Giannis Antetokounmpo / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

1. "For international players, sometimes it's hard to dream big. You made us dream big."

There was a time when a standout international player in the NBA was a rarity. Guys like Hakeem Olajuwon and Arvydas Sabonis were around, sure, but it wasn't until the late 90s and early 2000s that we started to see a real overseas boom in the league.

Of course, Manu isn't solely responsible for what was probably an inevitable wave of international talent, but he sure did a hell of a lot to inspire it. More importantly, he was one of the first guys to be relatively unknown at the time he was drafted only to explode on the scene years later.

Ginobili's experiences undoubtedly paved the way for many more international talents that might have previously doubted their ability to make it big, and there's no bigger example of that happening than Giannis Antetokounmpo.

While he was drafted much sooner than Manu at 15th, Giannis certainly drew some inspiration from Ginobili's journey, which he spoke about a few years ago.

"For international players, sometimes it's hard to believe and to dream big. You made us dream big, showing us you can be great in this league."

Next. The Top 30 San Antonio Spurs Ever. dark

Manu's greatness transcended international borders, and the NBA will forever be better because of that.

Manu Ginobili Week continues here, with some stories from Spurs fans about why they grew to admire the legend.