After 16 years of playing for the San Antonio Spurs, four-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili decided to permanently end his NBA career. Ginobili’s decision to retire saddened lots of Spurs fans, especially those who believe that the veteran shooting guard still has something left in his tank. However, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN, Ginobili said that he considered the 2017-18 NBA season as his last season of playing in the NBA.
Since the start of the 2018 NBA offseason, Manu Ginobili has already given hints about his retirement. Ginobili kept his options open before reaching his final decision. However, after seeing his young teammates Bryn Forbes and Dejounte Murray working in the gym, the 41-year-old Argentinian guard became more convinced that it’s time for him retire.
“I felt that I had a good season, that I left everything I had in that previous season both physically and mentally. When I came back here and I came to work out a little bit, to lift, bike or whatever, I saw Bryn [Forbes], I saw Dejounte [Murray], I saw some of the guys working out and preparing for the season. And I was so far from that. That’s when I said, ‘For sure, this is it.’ There was a little bit of that door opened, but it closed pretty quick.”
"At the beginning it was kind of hard. It took me a while to understand it."
— JeffGSpursZone (@JeffGSpursZone) September 16, 2018
Aside from his family, one of the first people Manu Ginobili informed about his retirement was Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich. During their conversation, Ginobili revealed that Popovich “briefly tried to convince” him to return for another season. However, Popovich realized that the veteran shooting guard has already made up his mind and just respected his decision to retire.
Manu Ginobili is undeniably a huge loss for the Spurs. Despite his age, Ginobili remains a reliable contributor off the bench. In 65 games he played with the Spurs last season, Ginobili averaged 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists on 43.4 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Ginobili is not the only key player that the Spurs lost this offseason. Ginobili’s backcourt partner Tony Parker ended up joining the Charlotte Hornets in the recent free agency, while Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green were traded to the Toronto Raptors for a package centered on DeMar DeRozan. The upcoming 2018-19 NBA season will be a tough challenge for Coach Gregg Popovich since he will be leading an almost entirely new team. However, Ginobili believes Popovich and the Spurs will “do good” even after losing each of their “Big Three.”