Manu Ginobili says Hall of Fame seemed ‘an unrealizable dream’

Photo: Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

The Argentine Manu Ginóbili, the legend of the San Antonio Spurs, assured this Friday that entering the Hall of Fame seemed like “an unrealizable dream” in his youth. Still, he made it a reality “with effort year after year” at a conference organized in Montville (Connecticut) before he ascended to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield (Massachusetts).

The four-time NBA champion, two-time All-Star, and a season’s best sixth player explained that being immortalized feels “unreal” and that as a child, it was “an unrealizable dream that began to come true with effort year after year.”

In a press conference before his exaltation on Saturday held at a hotel-casino on the Mohegan Indian reservation in Connecticut, the 5 of the Argentine team and 20 of the San Antonio Spurs (both jerseys retired) also highlighted the Latino pride he felt in the NBA and the bond that was created between Spanish-speakers in the American league.

He also affirmed, when asked by Efe, that although there is a link with international players, “despite the confrontation that they are rivals,” especially the South Americans, “one always tries to receive them.”

He never talked dirty on the court.

The left-handed shooting guard who will be immortal tomorrow and who, during his 16 years in the NBA, experienced the growing presence of Spanish-speaking players on the court indicated that if “trash talk” (talking dirty to destabilize the opponent emotionally) in Spanish reached the US basketball, it was not his fault.

Great English-speaking NBA stars have acknowledged learning bad words to annoy Latinos. Ginóbili remarked: “I never did trash talk, never.”

The Argentine pointed out that he does not doubt that Spaniard Pau Gasol will soon join him in Springfield, which is only “a matter of time. As soon as the deadline is up, he will enter, and I hope to be there with him”.

The creator of the “euro step” (European step) and magician of the impossible pipes stressed that his best performances are due to the players and all the staff of the teams in which he has played: “There is no individual award that has not been felt as a group. I am here for the virtues of my teams”.

Without mentioning them by name, only by their positions in the game, he was especially grateful that he had the opportunity to share the pitch and complicity for many years with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, with whom he formed the so-called “The Big Three” (the big three), as well as coach Gregg Popovich.

Before coming to the NBA in 2002, Ginóbili had already established himself in Argentine and Italian basketball, where he had won the Triple Crown in the 2000-2001 season (Italian Basketball League, the Italian Cup, and the Euroleague of the season).

Some consider him the Leo Messi of basketball, and others nickname him Manudona.

During the press conference, Ginobili recalled on several occasions that the successes with the Spurs have already been sufficiently recognized, such as when they retired his number 20, but that now it is more about his entire career, including his successes with the Argentine national team, which he led by winning gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics and silver at the 2002 Basketball World Cup among a long list of hits.

Recognition for Argentina

He recalled that if with the Spurs he played 16 years, with the albiceleste team he did 18, and that in the same way as with those from San Antonio, with his compatriots, they formed a united team of companions who also shared for a long time creating what is known as the “Golden Generation.”

“It was the right time. The world was changing in basketball for the NBA. They created an inspiration for everyone to work harder. We were very fortunate to work together with talented players who worked hard. We loved being together and going out together. It was a unique situation, and we started to grow and grow,” she said, this time in English.

And soon: “We were one of the few countries that began to threaten the US. We changed the way people viewed these tournaments with the dream teams.”

Also read:

He explained that in Argentina “everything is soccer,” but that his town, Bahía Blanca, is an exception, where in his childhood most of the children played basketball and talked about basketball all day.

“The strange thing is that he has come here,” joked Ginóbili, who is part of the Spurs coaching team and spends his free time playing tennis or riding a bicycle, activities in which, like basketball, he always wants to win. , assured.