Manu Ginobili may be an elder when it comes to the NBA, but the feisty San Antonio Spurs guard isn’t planning on retiring anytime in the near future.
As the San Antonio Spurs close out on their fourth title during Ginobili’s career, many have wondered whether the 36-year-old Argentinian player is ready to call it quits. But Manu has spoken out, telling the NBA TV’s Inside Stuff that he sees himself playing one or two more seasons with the Spurs before retiring to spend more time with his sons.
Whenever he retires, Manu Ginobili will certainly leave a legacy with the Spurs. Drafted with the No. 57 overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, the shooting guard became one of the biggest draft steals of all time. He joined the Spurs in 2002, quickly becoming a key player on the team’s three NBA championship teams.
Ginobili was also named to the NBA All Star game in 2005 and 2011. In the 2007-08 season he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
Ginobili has also represented his home nation several times, including leading the Argentina national team to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics.
The early announcement that he plans to come back ends what had become an annual tradition. Ginobili faced retirement rumors near the conclusion of the 2013 and 2012 seasons.
Many thought last year would be Manu’s final one in the NBA after a hamstring strain kept him out for a long stretch and he also struggled with back spasms, a left quadriceps bruise, and a thigh bruise.
When asked at the time if it would be his final season, Manu Ginobili was less than positive.
“All season long I kind of knew that I was going to play one or two more years. But when you are 36 [years old] — I’m going to be 36 pretty soon — everything is a day-by-day basis,” he said. “Once the season finishes and I see how I feel, I can’t imagine me not playing at least one more year here, but time will tell. We’ll see.”
At the time, Ginobili admitted the rash of injuries had him seriously thinking of retirement.
“For three quarters of the season it was the physical part,” Ginobili said. “I’d say, ‘No, I can’t deal with this anymore. I’m tired of rehab and trying to be in shape all the time.’
“But at this point I’m fine physically, so you are a little more optimistic. But you know, it’s been 18 years doing this. You kind of get tired and you want to enjoy a little more time at home sometimes. You go back to Argentina to see your people, and you think about it. I’m going to have time for that too.”
But many think Manu Ginobili could change his mind about retirement if the Spurs can finish out the Miami Heat and win another NBA championship. The team is up 3 games to 1 in the series, with a chance to finish out at home on Sunday night.