The final player from the San Antonio Spurs dynasty announced his decision to hang them up earlier this week, as Manu Ginobili retired after 16 years with the franchise. It’s something that didn’t really surprise anyone — Ginobili is 41 and has been flirting with retirement for some time — but it still will be weird watching the Spurs next year without their crafty lefty guard on the bench.
As it turns out, despite never saying it publicly, Ginobili always thought 2017-18 was going to be his final season in the league. Ginobili wrote a piece for Argentine newspaper La Nación after he announced his retirement, and according to a translation from ESPN, the future Hall of Fame inductee said that he went through last year thinking he’d call it a career.
“I can’t say this was a hasty or unexpected decision,” Ginobili wrote. “I’m 41 years old. I’ve been stretching a little bit this basketball thing, right? In my head, last season was at all times ‘the last one.’ I never said it publicly because I didn’t want to limit my options. I wanted to leave the door open for any changes in my mind or to see if I still felt the physical and mental strength needed to face a new season.”
Ginobili also mentioned that he’ll “try to contribute” to the Spurs in some way while he’s still in San Antonio, although he didn’t go into specifics on what that might end up being. The most fun role, obviously, is teaching Spurs players how to Eurostep, but just having Ginobili around and still involved with the franchise will be fun no matter what.