Manu Ginobili’s oldest son, Nico, didn’t want his dad to retire from the NBA. and who could blame him? After 23 years of professional basketball, including a career in both the EuroLeague and the NBA, there must be tons of reasons Nico wanted his dad to keep playing. But the Spurs posted an Instagram video where Ginobili revealed the real reason: Nico loves the chicken tenders at the AT&T Center.
They probably are delicious, but Ginobili said even the juiciest tenders are not a reason to stay. Bleacher Report covered some of the 41-year-old athlete’s thoughts around his retirement. He said he knew that his most recent season with the San Antonio Spurs would be his last, and approached the whole season with that mindset.
“I took last season mentally as my last season. So every place I went, every situation, I kind of knew it was going to be the last one. But I left the door open, just in case. Slowly, the door started to close more. I couldn’t see my body going through that kind of grind again. I felt that I had a good season, that I left everything I had in that previous season both physically and mentally.”
Ginobili said he knew it was the end of the road for him when he returned to the Spurs training camp and saw his teammates preparing for the season. He said he saw them and knew he was so far removed from what they were doing that it was time for him to go.
Gibobili has certainly had many highlights in his long and storied career. He played in the EuroLeague as well as several seasons with the Spurs from 2002-2018. During his time with San Antonio, Ginobili established himself as a key player and an important part of the team’s overall dynasty.
He won four NBA titles and was named to the All-Star team twice over the years, and enjoyed a great deal of success. He announced his retirement from the journey of his “wildest dreams” on Twitter, and said he has no regrets about his 23-year career, or about leaving it. He mentioned he is excited to spend more time with his family and has plans to travel and visit Argentina. He will be missed in San Antonio. And so will the chicken tenders, but Nico can probably enjoy them again on a future visit.