Argentina’s run at Rio came to end on Wednesday at the hands of Team USA, and so too did Manu Ginobili‘s legendary international career after announcing prior to the games that the 2016 Olympics would be his last. Ginobili has been the leader of Argentina’s “golden generation,” which was the last team to beat the Americans in Olympic play at the 2004 Athens games.
In his post-game interview following the 105-78 loss in the semifinal round, Ginobili fought back tears as he talked about his nearly 20-year career playing for Argentina’s national team, eventually having to cut the interview short.
“Well, of course, I started playing at 19-20 years old, and now I’m almost 40, so of course a lot of things happened, some amazing times, unbelievable ones, some tough ones,” he said. “But most of them with the same core group of guys, good friends, representing a lot of people that I love, leaving on the side my family. It’s just very hard. I’m sorry…”
Argentina got off to an excellent start against the Americans on Wednesday, at one point holding a 19-9 lead in the first quarter. But the U.S. put together one of their best stretches of basketball of the entire tournament from there, which ultimately proved too much for Ginobili and company.
Though his international career has come to an end, Ginobili will return to the Spurs next season and has said he’d like to play one or two more years in the NBA before retiring from basketball altogether and punching his surefire ticket to the Hall of Fame.