Yes, Manu Ginobili is an All-Time Great

Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

There's no doubt that by now you’ve heard San Antonio Spurs legend Manu Ginobili will headline the Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2022. While we can happily celebrate the news, some people on Twitter and the like would have you believe that Manu was nothing more than a career benchwarmer who got lucky and spent his career on an elite team.

Spurs fans, we all know that Manu was one of the reasons the Spurs were so good for so long. To a casual NBA fan who only follows big market teams like the 11th-seeded Lakers and Knicks, I actually understand where they might be coming from. Ginobili was a full-time starter for only a few seasons and only averaged 13 points over his career.

About a year ago I developed a rating system to determine a player’s Hall of Fame worthiness. I took individual accomplishments and, with the help of a few hundred people filling out a poll, I assigned each accomplishment point values and saw how Hall of Famers ranked.

The system is outlined below, and I will be the first to admit it is very much flawed. Two All-Star appearances are worth more than an MVP crown, which makes little sense. All in all, it was imperfect but easy to use. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has 411.2 points, which is by far the most ever. Bill Bradley, the worst player to ever make the Hall has 19.6, but he is definitely an outlier. 

  • Finals Win     7.2
  • Finals MVP     6.8
  • All-NBA First Team     7.2
  • All-NBA Second Team     5.5
  • All-NBA Third Team     4.1
  • All-Rookie First Team     3.4
  • All-Rookie Second Team     2.4
  • All-Defensive First Team     6.0
  • All-Defensive Second Team     4.8
  • All-Star Appearance     5.2
  • All-Star Game MVP     3.7
  • MVP Award     8.4
  • Rookie Of the Year Award     5.2
  • Most Improved Player Award     3.7
  • Defensive Player of the Year Award     7.1
  • Sixth Man of the Year Award     4.6
  • Scoring Leader     6.2
  • Rebounds Leader     5.3
  • Assists Leader     5.7
  • Steals Leader     4.9
  • Blocks Leader     5.2

In my mind, a fringe Hall of Famer based on only an NBA career is Bill Walton. He scores 79.8 points, so our benchmark to make the Hall is around 75 points.

Walton gets the added bonus of being one of the best college athletes ever. Ginobili had an NBA career that ended with 54.4 points. That is well below the Walton mark, which is presumably the argument everyone who opposes his entry would make.

Bill Walton benefits heavily from having one of the best NCAA careers ever. Manu Ginobili had perhaps the best international career ever and pioneered NBA popularity on two continents. He is one of the chief reasons why basketball is becoming a global game. He brought the NBA to South America almost single-handedly.

While his NBA career, while magnificent, falls short of even Ben Wallace (131.7 points), the Hoops Hall is about basketball as a whole, not just the NBA. Ginobili dominated in Europe and the Olympics and then came to America and kept putting up All-Star numbers. If he was selfish and chose to be a starter, he could have averaged 25 points a game for over a decade. He decided that winning is more important. 

If all you watch is the NBA, that’s ok. It is the best league in the world. Manu was a top player in it. He was also the best in Europe and the Olympics. Some “analysts” might have missed that and subscribe to my rather archaic point system, but if that’s all you look at then you’re missing the big picture.

Next. The Top 30 San Antonio Spurs Ever. dark

Manu is a surefire Hall of Famer and one of the best pure basketball players ever, and most of the world agrees with me.