Manu Ginobili is returning to the San Antonio Spurs for at least one more season, but this summer nonetheless represents the end of a notable chapter of his basketball career. The 39-year-old Ginobili has not announced his retirement from international play, but the Olympics figure to be his final tournament given his age. One of the best non-American players in basketball history will attempt to add to his incredible international legacy in Rio.
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Like many teams, Argentina played several exhibitions on home soil in advance of the Olympics. The last of those contests, an 86-79 win over fellow medal contender France, came Monday night in Córdoba. It was almost certainly Ginobili’s last competitive game in his home country, and he understandably got emotional after the final buzzer. Take a look (video via Spurs Zone):
Ginobili’s on-court interview did not offer much reflection on his career. Instead, he chose to focus on the task at hand — playing well in Rio. (The linked article is in Spanish, but a quick internet translation works pretty well for those who don’t know the language.)
Nevertheless, it is clear that he understood what this game meant for him and the country. Ginobili acknowledged the crowd’s cheers and seemed genuinely touched by them, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who know his personality.
Brazil and Argentina are fierce rivals in virtually every sport, but it would seem fair to expect Manu to get similar treatment from the crowd after his final game at the Olympics. The man is a titan of the sport and deserves to be recognized for it.
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