Pop on Manu Ginobili's jersey retirement: 'Without Manu, there were no championships'

The San Antonio Spurs honored Manu Ginobili Thursday by hanging his No. 20 in rafters of the AT&T Center.

And they made sure Ginobili felt the love he earned over 16 years in San Antonio.

In a star-studded postgame event after a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Spurs presented Ginobili with a tribute video highlighting his many big moments with the Spurs.

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Gregg Popovich’s touching ode to Manu

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were among the players on the court to honor Ginobili, with coach Gregg Popovich giving an endearing ode to the Spurs great.

Ginobili’s jersey hung next to Tim Duncan’s

“I had to learn to stop going to say ‘Manu, geez. Do we need that? Why?’” Popovich said. “‘I’m am Manu and this is what I do.’ That’s what he would tell me. Over and over. And then I’d look over at Tim or Tony, and they would just shrug their shoulders. And we’d all just move on.

“The way the team was set up, we all needed each other. And without Manu, there were no championships.”

At the end of the ceremony, Ginobili watched as his jersey was hung in the rafters among those of other Spurs greats.

Manu’s career in San Antonio

Ginobili played his entire 16-year NBA career with the Spurs, making two All-Star games and winning four NBA championships. He retired last summer.

The 57th pick of the 1999 draft, Ginobili arrived in San Antonio in 2002 after playing in Italy and Argentina. He retired as the Spurs’ all-time leader in 3-pointers and steals, while finishing fourth in career assists and fifth in career points.

He was a two-time All-NBA selection and the 2008 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

Spurs fans and former teammates paid Manu Ginobili a rousing tribute Thursday. (Getty)
Spurs fans and former teammates paid Manu Ginobili a rousing tribute Thursday. (Getty)

One of the game’s most creative players, Ginobili helped usher in the era of the Euro step while playing a critical role in the Spurs dynasty despite playing most of his career off the bench.

He may not have been the best player on the Spurs dynasty, but as former teammate Brent Barry noted before the ceremony, he was adored by fans.

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