It’s a different feeling when a respected, idolized player from the NBA retires. Most times, it’s borderline sad. And for a split second, you’re reminded of all the exciting and fun times associated with that player – the glory, the get-off-your-seat moments, and cheers.
On August 27th, Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs took it to Twitter to announce his retirement – a move that the entire basketball world felt inevitable. Did you know he was the second oldest active player following Vince Carter?
As age continued to wither Manu’s numbers on the court, one thing remained true and untouched for 16 long seasons: Manu was the heart of that San Antonio team. In every championship, in every defeat, and in every bounce back – he fueled the fire.
And so as the worldwide NBA fan base bids farewell to their favorite Argentian, PlayPH lists down their all-time Manu moments.
“TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME”
The thunderous dunk from Manu multiplies its strength and impact mainly because of the 2014 Miami-San Antonio Finals rivalry storyline.
During the 2013 NBA Finals between the two teams, the Heat won in seven games. They weren’t supposed to, though. It was Ray Allen’s heroics that kept Miami’s season alive in Game 6. A year later, in a similar Finals scenario with the Spurs up 3-1, Allen is seen trying to reach over to snag the ball from Manu. Manu, remembering the daunting pain Allen brought upon his team, elbows Allen away from his flight path. He lifts off and dunks it on the Heat’s All-Star center Chris Bosh. He was 37 then.
Manu’s electrifying dunk could arguably be one of the early, premature daggers to end the Miami superteam run that sent LeBron packing back to Akron and the Spurs to yet another championship.
MANU SAVES THE DAY
In Game 5 of the of the 2017 Western Conference quarterfinals between the (3) Houston Rockets and the (2) Spurs, it was Manu coming out on top to save the day.
The entire match was a neck-and-neck battle between the two western powerhouses. James Harden was capping off his MVP-esque year, averaging 29.1 points and 11 assists per game. San Antonio on the other hand, were playing their first season without Tim Duncan and their star guard Tony Parker barely seeing minutes. Despite all that, the Spurs, backed by the united power of their second units, still managed to keep up.
It’s the dying seconds of overtime and the Spurs are leading by three. Both teams are posed to jump for the ball at the line. After a short scramble, James Harden ends up with the ball – Manu deadlocked in front of him. Harden wiggles his way through to pull up for three, and in true, convincing, Manu Ginobili fashion – he blocks the shot from behind. The block would give the Spurs the series lead that would help springboard them to advance.
A SWEET GOODBYE
PlayPH’s favorite Ginobili moment would come in the form of a goodbye speech to his good friend and teammate, Tim Duncan. In many many ways, Duncan’s retirement meant leaving the team’s leadership responsibilities to Manu. And in the years leading to his own departure from the league, he did what he did best. It’s a seven-minute video that perfectly depicts Manu’s lovable character – unselfish, kind, and respectful. Beyond any highlight reel, winning shot, or emphatic finish, this is what Manu will be remembered for: his passion and heart for the game.
Farewell, Grandpa Juice.
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