Our beloved Spur, Manu Ginobili, announced his retirement on his Twitter account Monday ending his 16 year tenure with the Spurs. In the tweet, he stated “Today, with a wide range of feelings, I’m announcing my retirement from basketball. IMMENSE GRATITUDE to everyone (family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, fans) involved in my life in the last 23 years. It’s been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams.” The tweet along with a picture of him waving to fans heading into the tunnel at the AT&T Center was eerily similar to Tim Duncan’s final wave to the crowd a little over 2 years ago in Oklahoma City during the playoffs. Many across the NBA and major media personalities tweeted gratitude and happy retirement wishes to his account, some including Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.
Manu has had a historic career and one of, if not the greatest player to ever be drafted in the second round in NBA Draft history. Manu went from no one in the media knowing how to pronounce “Ginobili” to absolute legend. Hailed as one of the greatest six man to ever play, Manu won four championships with the Spurs. Other notable accomplishments include a Sixth Man of the Year award winner, 2 times All-NBA, and a 2 time NBA All-Star.
Outside of all his success on the court, he was and still is, a true champion off the court. He made countless trips to Christa Santa Rosa Hospital and the Children’s Hospital, as well as countless visits to schools across San Antonio. This is proof of his love for the community and is truly unmatched. He always made time for fans off the court, despite his own privacy, he made every fan feel special and part of the team. Throughout last season, there were crowds at every game, in every arena, of traveling Manu fans flying from all over the globe to see him play in person. And of course, Manu being Manu, after his shootaround before the game, he would stop to take pictures, sign autographs, and even hug fans, especially those who were from his native Argentina.
Manu went out on his own terms and revealed his incredible play during the past 2 seasons was because he was ready to retire, ready to go out with a bang. And he did just that. Even Mayor Ron Nirenberg late Monday night tweeted that August 30th will officially be “Manu Ginobili Day” in the city of San Antonio.
On behalf of San Antonio and a long time Spurs fan, gracias Manu. You got me through personally some tough times the past year or two as I’m sure for so many others as well. You are a man of the people with your sportsmanship and with your kind and friendly heart. You are a legend and no matter where life takes you, San Antonio will always be home and no words can express the gratitude us fans have for you. So, all we can just say is GRACIAS MANU.