Without rings, a pro athlete will never be considered an all-time great. While there are amazing talents that post great stat lines and influence the game without a championship to their name.
Manu Ginobili alike some of the greatest NBA players ever, had both, even including more championships in the EuroLeague, Argentina, and the Italian League.
Within Ginobili’s career, he played 1057 games, starting around 33 percent of them. In the 2007-2008 season, Ginobili earned NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award because of his ability to come off the bench and take over the game. In that season Ginobili averaged 19.5 pts, 4.5 assists, and shot 46% from the field. Ginobili earned more starting time after that and went on to be a 2x Allstar and 2x All NBA player.
After 16 solid seasons, Ginobili averaged 13.3 points, 1.3 steals, 3.8 assists, and shot 44.7% per game. Along with all of his phenomenal career stats, Manu also earned medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics playing for the Argentine national team. The man balled all around the world and left his mark everywhere he played.
Ginobili’s European background also made him very unique compared to other guards he competed against. No, I’m not talking about his abnormally large nose or balding head, I’m speaking of his impact on the Euro Step. Ginobili revolutionized this sleek move in the NBA, giving the old-school center its last blow as the league transitioned to a faster-paced ball game.
In fact, you can see many similarities to Manu’s style of play in guards around the NBA now. Superstars like Dwayne Wade and James Harden have clear similarities to Manu’s dynamic play style. Both even admitting that they learned the move from the Argentine maestro. All three share the finesse that is the Euro Step and has truly mastered the way Ginobili showed them how it is done.
Besides completely revolutionizing the Euro Step, Ginobili held an important spot on a dynasty. The Spurs have been a top tier organization for the last 16 seasons, all coached by the great Gregg Popovich. Being under such a smart coach and being surrounded by other great players gave Ginobili the chance to be more than just a 6th man in the NBA. Popovich mended all-star rosters and accumulated 4 championships within the 16 seasons.
Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end. With Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, and Manu off the team, the Spurs are left with Popovich and a new Allstar in DeMar DeRozan. The Spurs dynasty may be remembered as the “Tim Duncan Era”, but none of that would have been possible without the 6th man.