The San Antonio Spurs‘ season coming to an end can only mean one thing: speculation about the potential retirement of Manu Ginobili is back. Ginobili will turn 41 this summer and has played the sport professionally in one capacity or another since 1995, so if he decided it was time to call it a career, no one would blame him.
Of course, basketball is more fun when Ginobili is on the floor, as he’s still a wonderfully creative player and a calming presence in San Antonio. The decision on retirement is ultimately his, but if Steve Kerr has a say in things, Ginobili will come back next season.
The former teammates on the 2002-03 Spurs hugged one another after the Warriors’ 99-91 win on Tuesday night that ended San Antonio’s season. Kerr used it as an opportunity to try and sell Ginobili on coming back, and even compared him to another legendary athlete.
“I want you to keep playing, I really do,” Kerr said. “Keep going, ok? Why not? We met Roger Federer this year in China, I said ‘Why do you keep playing?’ He said ‘I love it.’ If you love it, keep going, what the hell?”
When Ginobili said that he’d talk to Kerr soon, Kerr slipped in that Ginobili reminds him of Federer. Kerr presumptively meant that they’re both athletes whose greatness over a prolonged period of time has endeared them to millions of fans, but perhaps he meant that he just wants to watch them both keep playing for as long as possible.