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Future Hall Of Famer Manu Ginobili Has Retired From The NBA

And just like that our balding, lefty, sweet prince has retired from the NBA. No farewell tour. No big time announcement to break the news himself. Nothing crazy like that. Just, 14 years to the day of Argentina beating the US in the 2004 Olympics, Manu has decided that it’s time to hang them up.

Manu was drafted 57th overall in the 1999 Draft while playing for Viola Reggio Calabria in Italy. He made his way over to the NBA and the Spurs for the 2002-03 season he immediately made an impact. He played in 69 games, starting 5 and averaged over 20 minutes per game. It was also the first title that the Spurs won with him, Duncan, Parker and Pop all together as they beat the Nets that year.

Manu was more than just that though. He helped change the way we look at European guards/wings. He was one of the best passers of this generation as people often talked about him and LeBron being the only two people who could make that cross court, wrap around bounce pass on the baseline. He was part of the golden generation for Argentina, which became a big time basketball country during this run, with the gold medal in 2004 being the peak. He made just some unreal offensive plays where he seemed to be a magician early on in his career. He was one of the guys that really brought the Eurostep to the casual fan. He also had some ridiculous lettuce back in the day.

Now, the Spurs move on with just Pop there from the original group. He’s taking over a team that’s sort of in limbo as they’ve moved on and work to build around Aldridge/Murray/Walker/Gay/DeRozan. You could argue that the Spurs have been the most consistent franchise in all of sports for the last 20 years and that group is now gone. It’s going to be weird watching games next year without Manu and Parker in Charlotte. But, here we are.

So long live Manu, that bat-swatting, layup making man. Here’s a bunch of highlights to get you through the rest of the afternoon.