The best Argentina had to offer
Many sports fans hear the name “Argentina” and immediately think of great football players who hail from the South American country. Amidst all that, it’s easy to forget that Argentina’s also exceptionally good at basketball, and today marks a sad day in the basketball history of that nation with the announcement that Spurs legend Manu Ginobili is retiring after 16 seasons in the NBA.
Simply put, this marks the end of an era in the history of the San Antonio Spurs franchise, after Tim Duncan’s retirement two years ago and Tony Parker’s departure to Charlotte earlier in the summer. The memories every NBA fan has of Ginobili call to mind one of the most unique and innovative players to ever grace the NBA. There’s no question that he’ll take his rightful place in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame 5 years from now, and he’ll be remembered fondly.
However, this is also a crucial moment for the San Antonio Spurs franchise. How do they move forward now that none of the three biggest players to ever play for the team, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, will no longer be around? What will Gregg Popovich do to replace the immense leadership factor that Ginobili had? Obviously it’ll be difficult, but if anyone can figure out who has the mental fortitude to lead a team, it’s Popovich.
The most important thing here however is to recognize and appreciate the greatness of Manu Ginobili’s career. For any self-respecting NBA fan, Ginobili must be on the Mount Rushmore of greatest foreign-born players to ever play in the NBA.