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MANU GINOBILI
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Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili

For those like me who never saw Lithuanian center Arvydas Sabonis play during his European Championship days, we missed one of International basketball’s best.  It is said had Sabonis played NBA basketball during his heyday, he’d most certainly be a HOFer.  Fortunately, history has been kinder to us when it comes to the decorated career of Emanuel David Ginóbili.

Manu Ginóbili is a crafty, left-handed guard who has established himself as a relentless and clutch performer for the San Antonio Spurs.  And like Sabonis, Ginobili was a relative late bloomer when it came to playing in the NBA, entering the league at age 25.  Today, alongside teammates Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, he rounds out one of the most successful triumvirates in league history.

Before being selected by the Spurs in the second round of the 1999 draft, Ginóbili had already won numerous European league MVP awards, including the 2004 Olympic tournament MVP.  He is the only player in basketball history to win the Euroleague, an Olympic gold medal, and an NBA Championship ring.  He is also the first non-U.S. player ever to win both an NBA Championship and an Olympic gold medal, and only the second Latin American to be selected to play in an NBA All-Star game (Panama’s Rolando Blackman first).

Not surprisingly, Ginóbili comes from a long line of basketball lineage.  His eldest brother, Leandro, played seven years in the Argentine basketball league.  While brother, Sebastián, played in both the local league and the Spanish Liga Española de Baloncesto. Ginobili’s father, Jorge, coached a basketball club in Bahía Blanca which is how Ginóbili learned the game.  Despite his International roots, like most young players of his generation, Manu grew up idolizing Michael Jordan.

During Ginóbili’s early basketball career in Argentina and Italy, he won several individual and team honors.  While with Italian side Kinder Bologna he earned two Lega A Most Valuable Player awards, one Euroleague MVP award and the 2001 League Championship.  After which, many felt Manu was ready for the NBA.  However, despite being drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1999 NBA Draft, Ginóbili decided to return to Italy and did not join the Spurs organization until 2002, after winning the 2002 FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis.  Manu was a hit.  He made the All-Tournament team alongside future NBA star Yao Ming, as well as established NBA stars Dirk Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovic, and he helped lead Argentina to a second-place finish.  Now Ginóbili was ready to join the Spurs, and it didn’t take long for him to become an integral part of San Antonio’s championship run.  Since joining the team, Manu has won three NBA championships and has been an All-Star once.

In his first season in the NBA, Ginóbili backed up veteran guard Steve Smith.  Unfortunately, he also spent much of that season injured, as he found it hard to adjust to the NBA’s style of play. But as his injury improved, so did his game.  Upon his return from injury, Ginóbili won the Western Conference Rookie of the Month that March, and was named to the All-Rookie Second Team at season’s end.  Although he only started five games, the Spurs posted a 60-22 regular season record.  However, it was in the playoffs that Manu proved his versatile all-around mettle.

In contrast to his regular season performance, Ginóbili established himself as a signature part of Coach Gregg Popovich‘s playoff rotation, playing in every game.  The Spurs eliminated Phoenix and Los Angeles, while Manu’s scoring and lane penetrations took opponents by complete surprise, giving them one more thing to cope with against the now talent-loaded Spurs.  Manu helped guide the team past the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals and then the New Jersey Nets in the Finals, securing San Antonio’s second ever championship.  After the win, Ginóbili won his first Olimpia de Oro (“Golden Olympia”) as Argentina’s sportsperson of the year, and even met Argentine president Néstor Kirchner.  A gym in Bahía Blanca was dedicated in Ginóbili’s honor as well.

In the 2003-04 season, Ginóbili started in half of the 77 games he played in and his statistics improved in all major categories, as he averaged 12.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.8 steals per game.  Unfortunately, the Spurs lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals following a controversial Game 5 in which Derek Fisher nailed a clutch jumper as time expired.  The Spurs never recovered and ultimately lost the series 2-4.  Nevertheless, Ginóbili’s playoff numbers improved to 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.

Despite lingering contract issues in 2004-05, Ginóbili re-signed with the Spurs and started every game.  It helped him log his best season to date, as he was selected as a reserve by NBA coaches to the 2005 Western Conference All-Star team.  During the playoffs, Ginóbili’s play was pivotal once again as he helped lead San Antonio to its third championship. The Spurs first defeated Phoenix 4-1 in the Conference Finals, before prevailing in a defensive-minded seven-game series against the Detroit Pistons.  Ginóbili recorded career-highs in ppg (20.8), and rebounds (5.8), and had the third highest point total in the entire playoffs.  In the NBA Finals MVP Award voting, Manu was edged out by team captain, Tim Duncan.  Ginóbili finished the 2004-05 season as the second leading scorer on the Spurs and he became only the fourth person to win consecutive Olimpias de Oro, this time sharing the award with soccer star Carlos Tévez.

The 2005-06 season was an injury-plagued campaign for Ginóbili.  He suffered foot and ankle injuries, both of which severely limited his play.  Still, he played 65 games, but saw a major dip in all statistical categories compared to the previous season.  However, during the playoffs, he returned to form, although he was unable to prevent the Spurs from losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the Conference Semifinals.  In the 2006-07 season, Ginóbili gave the Spurs a huge lift coming off the bench for most of the second half of the season, helping the Spurs to the best record in the second half of the season.  And despite being a bench player, Ginóbili produced numbers nearly identical to those of his 2004-05 campaign, even though he only started 36 of 75 games, his second lowest since arriving in San Antonio.  Nevertheless, in the 2007 NBA Playoffs, Manu rebounded by helping the Spurs defeat the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, and Utah Jazz, before sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers en route to his third and the Spur’s fourth NBA championship.

SUMMARY

G

FG%

3PFG%

FT%

Rebs

RPG

Asts

APG

Stls

Blks

Pts

PPG

394 

.451

.380

.806

1,548

3.9

1,356

3.4

615 

128 

5,580

14.2

Full Name: Emanuel David Ginóbili
Born: 7/28/77 in Bahia Blanca, Argentina
College: None
Drafted: San Antonio Spurs (2nd round, 28th overall), 1999

Nickname: Manu, Gino, Narigón, El Contusión
Height: 6-6; Weight: 205 lbs.
Honors: 2001 Italian League Championship (Kinder Bologna), 2001 Italian Cup (Kinder Bologna), 2001 Euroleague (Kinder Bologna), 2001 Americas Championship (Argentina), 2002 Italian Cup (Kinder Bologna), 2003 NBA Championship (San Antonio Spurs), 2004 Summer Olympic Games Gold Medal (Argentina), 2005 NBA Championship (San Antonio Spurs), 2007 NBA Championship (San Antonio Spurs), 2001 Lega A (Italy) MVP, 2001 Euroleague MVP, 2002 Lega A MVP, All-Tournament, 2002 FIBA World Championship, 2002-03 NBA All-Rookie Second Team, Olimpia de Oro (2003, 2004 (shared), 2004 Olympics MVP, 2004-05 NBA All-Star, All-Tournament, 2006 FIBA World Championship.


References:
Wikipedia –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manu_Ginobili
NBA.com – http://www.nba.com/playerfile/emanuel_ginobili/index.html

Photos:
Spurs - NBAE/Getty Images
FIBA - Roslaw Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

The League, Lord of the League, LOTL, THE ‘L’ © 2008.

All Rights Reserved.

28 Responses to “Lord of the League: Manu Ginobili”

He is one of those players that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but is an absolute plague to opposing teams. He just knows how to win…

Couldn’t have said it better myself, shooter!

Manu just knows how to get into the seams with his game, and win.

I’d love to have him on my squad.

Thanks for appreciating Ginobili’s game, bro.

Holla!

Manu is such a gritty player. You’ve gotta love him. He’s such a fierce competitor. I would want him on my team. Great post Mean Dovine. Can’t wait to see who you profile next.

Thanks, L.A.D.I.!

If I knew the words to Kenny Rogers “Lady” song, I’d serenade you.

There are those who complain that Manu flops a lot. Who cares! It’s up to the refs to call it or not. All I know is the guy owns a ton of championship hardware.

Can’t wait to see how the Spurs do against the Lakers tonight …

You watching?

Aw,u make me blush Mean. I’ve never had anyone serenade me before(smile).

Of course I’m watchin’.

My pleasure, Lil’ Mama …

So, who you got tonight?

Spurs or Lakers?

P.S. I’m glad to know I guessed right regarding your sex. I assumed L.A.D.I. stood for “Lady”, but I wasn’t sure. Good thing I got it right!

I remember the 2003 playoffs when Manu had his coming out party. They needed him to step up big time. It was also the playoffs that saw Tony Parker really take shape at the point guard position. But without Manu’s clutch performances I doubt San Antonio gets to the finals that year.

That Derek Fisher shot is still the most unbelievable playoff clutch basket I’ve ever seen. People forget just how great Duncan’s basket seconds before that was. The Spurs could easily have 6 rings, including the last 5 in a row. That’s how good they’ve been thanks to guys like Manu.

Great post bro.

One more thing: 8 steals for Manu tonight against the Lake-Show. Nice win for San Antonio.

Hey Dan!

Manu is all baller — dude just knows how to impact a game. It takes smarts for that. And ingenuity.

Gotta luv Manu …

Yeah, I watched the game tonight. 8 steals!!! R U kidding me! When one facet of Ginobili’s game aint on, he finds other ways to affect the outcome for his team.

Can you imagine if every team in the ‘L’ had a Ginobili on the bench? What a talked about league the NBA would be.

San Antonio needed that win …

Good nite, bro.

Holler at’cha soon.

P.S. I’m also hoping Brand comes back better than ever. Never understood why Chicago let him go.

Floppy Bignosebilly.
No comment since the cheap shot on Bell. lol

props meany

flashback suggestion: look at the World and Be Free.

Pump, Pump, Pump, “Pump it UP!”

LOL! Morning PUMP,

I guess Manu’s not for everybody …

I knew his flopping would surface sooner than later. Hey, but he learned it from the best of ‘em, Vlade Divac …

And, hey, I didn’t know you were an advocate for world peace …

So you want the World to be Free?

Alright, I guess I’m gonna have to plan on giving y’all a little World B. Free …

Coming at’cha real soon, pahtnah …

Holla at a playa!!!

Choo got it right main. Good thing for you.

Of course, I picked the Spurs to win. I don’t like the Lakers. Booooo hisssssss. (smile)

What’s with all the Laker hate?

They’re actually playing a solid brand of basketball these days.

MeanDovine

What he brings to this Spurs’ team are so many intangibles. And he compliments the playof Duncan and Parker. They’re the best triumvirate in the league by far. I do believe at this juncture that they’re better than Boston’s trio of All Stars!

tophatal ….

The Spurs are the reigning champs, top. And in my book, until someone dethrones them, Duncan, Parker and Ginobili are indeed the best triumvirate in the game.

And you’re dead on about Manu’s many intangibles. Again, he just finds seams where there are none, in all facets of the game. What a find by San Antonio. Can’t say enough about the job Popovich and crew have done scouting the International game.

reigning chumps*

I wonder if Stern will be here when “cheap shot bob” comes to town on the 31st.

I hear the maintenance crew are going to paint the floor gray in front of the Spurs bench.

Hey, did you hear the latest? Due to the fact the Packers can’t win in cold weather, they are going to move and merge with the Bucs. New team name: Tampacks : only good for one period and won’t have a second string.

baaawaaahahahaha

LOL! You’re on a roll today, pahtnah!

2 words why Elton Brand was traded:

Twin Towers. Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry not ring a bell? They were going to take the Bulls into the next decade…wait, nevermind. I’m with you bro.

Its hard to imagine 30 other Manu clones because he is unique. I don’t see a guy play the same way with the same game. He’s just a different cat altogether.

Love the way your pictures change when I stick my cursor on it. Calderon and Garbajosa are trying to solve Manu. Love the Raptor representation. Peace bro.

It’s all good, bro.

I’m not a hater Mean. I just vehemently dislike the Lakers, especially that Kobe person. He’s a ball hog and not a good team leader. I personally think that his teammates don’t like him much.

Enough talk about the Losers, eh hmm I mean the Lakers. The comment left by Pumpdude about the “Tampacks” was pretty funny. It made me sniggle (that’s a combo of a snicker and a giggle). That was a good one.

Hater!!!

Manu is one of my top 5 fav. non-american players!

Without a doubt, J.

Thanks for showing Manu love.

Hit me back whenever …

By the way, who are your other four?

Good Post, mean.

Yes, OUR-Vidas’ days were SOO numbered by the time he hit the NBA.

Now, Ginobili, not to say that he’s washed up or anything, but man….Cat has some serious highlights with Kinder Bolgna. He was a true high-flyer in his younger years, couple that with the significantly lesser comp., and Manu was comin’ off like MJ out there.

And it’s no accident that it was the Spurs who drafted him in. Great organization.

Hey lefty,

Would love to have seen Arvydas in his heyday, bro. I have, however, seen tape and due could flat out play the pivot.

As for Ginobili, I’m just glad I got to see some of his greatness first hand.

Guy just knows how to think and play the game.

Thanks for hollerin’ at a playa.

See you later Pimpin’

Peace …

uuhhhhhhh, I’m trying to think of something positive to say about Giflopili, like I imagine pump was. (I was wondering if he’d pass on this one altogether).

Okay, how ’bout this. Having seen Danny Ainge play for two teams I liked, the Celtics and the Suns, I’ll say Ginobili is the type of player you’d love to have on your team but hate him if he’s on someone’s elses.

There. How’d I do?

Okay, be nice …

Flopping aside, which has gotten much better I might add, Manu is hard core. He’s broken many an opposing team’s back with his deft lane penetrations and/or his devastating jump shot.

I simply love his game, but I understand why you, and others, would have problems with certain aspects of his game.

True. Don’t tell anyone I said this, but I’d take him on the Suns roster.