It seems like we do this every year, but this might finally be the end of the road for Spurs guard Manu Ginobili. One of the greatest international basketball players to ever live, Ginobili will turn 40 this summer and has shown signs of slowing down over the last few years.
Ginobili hasn’t explicitly said he’s going to retire, but he has told the media that he plans on figuring out what he wants to do once the season ends. Unfortunately for Spurs fans (and, really, basketball fans), his season came to an end on Monday night at the hands of the Warriors, meaning he suddenly has to make a huge decision about his future.
If this is indeed the end of the road, Spurs fans let him know how much they appreciate him. Over the final few minutes that he was in during San Antonio’s Game 4 loss to Golden State, Spurs fans showered him with love.
As he checked out for what could be the last time, the roar from the Spurs faithful was deafening.
It wasn’t just the Spurs’ fans, players, and coaches who showed their respect for one of the most unique players in league history. The Warriors decided to get in on the fun as well.
But the best moment came after Ginobili checked out. There were just over two minutes remaining, and as the applause rained down upon him from all over the arena, Gregg Popovich turned to Ginobili and asked if he wanted to check back in. Because even in the most emotional moments, Pop can find a way to lovingly bust a player’s chops.
Selfishly, I really hope the end of the line for Ginobili doesn’t come after San Antonio gets swept in the Western Conference Finals. He made basketball more fun every time he stepped onto the floor, and it will be bizarre to watch the Spurs play next season without the crafty lefty from Argentina coming off the bench.
But if this really is it, Ginobili got the ovation he deserved from San Antonio fans. He dedicated his NBA career to the franchise, and it was so cool to watch as the Spurs faithful let him know how much they love him for perhaps the last time.