La Jornada – The Argentine Manu Ginóbili, to the Basketball Hall of Fame

New Orleans. As Manu Ginobili reflects on the chances of an Argentine boy ending up winning four NBA titles and an Olympic gold medal, he marvels at his history as an athlete.

“There was a one in tens of millions chance,” Ginobili said Saturday, after it was officially announced that he would be a new member of the Hall of Fame. “The chances were very very small and it happened to me. I don’t know what happened but I was the chosen one.”

“I turned out to be part of two very emblematic teams in these couple of decades, both in FIBA ​​and in the NBA. I was incredibly lucky to be a part of both teams.”

Ginobili will enter the Hall of Fame as part of the 2022 class, becoming the third South American with a plaque in the hall of basketball immortals.

“Another of the things you never dream of when you start to bite the orange ball! Thanks to everyone who accompanied me on this path! ”, Ginóbili wrote on his Twitter account.

The Argentine shooting guard will be inducted after his first year of eligibility. He retired in 2018 after playing his entire NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs, in addition to being crowned Olympic champion with his team at the 2004 Athens Games.

“I was part of two amazing teams. If it wasn’t for me being part of those two teams, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “It’s not just about individual achievements. I never won a scoring championship, an MVP award, or even made the NBA All-Star Team. I am here for those who surrounded me, for the people with whom I played, for the technicians who directed me and for the organizations in which I was. I know I’ve been very lucky.”

Ginobili joins Brazilians Oscar Schmidt and Ubiratan Pereira as the trio of South American Hall of Famers based in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Born in Bahía Blanca, Ginobili spent seven seasons as a professional in Argentina and Italy before joining the Spurs in 2002 after being the 57th pick in the 1999 draft.

Under coach Gregg Popovich from start to finish, Ginobili was a four-time champion and a two-time All-Star. He did it as part of the “Big Three” from San Antonio, with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. He was awarded the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2008.

Ginobili made his mark in the NBA with his shooting from the perimeter and an ultra-aggressive style, fearlessly diving to recover balls.

He also popularized the “Euro step”, the movement with which he began the penetration towards the hoop, took a step to one side and a second to the other to change direction. The maneuver was a classic in the league, emulated by stars like James Harden and Dwyane Wade.

Ginobili burst onto the international scene at the World Cup in Indianapolis in 2002. During the second phase of the tournament, Argentina became the first team to beat an all-NBA United States team and went on to win the silver medal. when falling against Yugoslavia, in a final that he could not play due to an ankle injury.

But the peak moment would come in 2004, with an unforgettable feat at the Olympic Games in Athens.

To the beat of 29 points from Ginobili, the Argentines beat the United States 89-81 in the semifinals, a team that had consecrated stars like Duncan and Allen Iverson and others who were beginning to appear like LeBron James, Wade and Carmelo Anthony.

Once in the final, Ginobili and company beat Italy to claim gold. They also achieved bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games and then a fourth-place finish at London 2012.

Ginóbili was the great reference of the Argentine “Golden Generation”, accompanied by Luis Scola, Andrés Nocioni, Fabricio Oberto, Carlos Delfino, Pablo Prigioni and Walter Herrmann.

Tim Hardaway was the other former NBA player among the five Hall of Fame inductees announced Saturday at the venue for college basketball’s Final Four.

Also joining are former WNBA champion and two-time college national champion Swin Cash; former NBA coach George Karl; college coach Bob Huggins; WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Whalen; former college champion coach and coach of the year Marianne Stanley; and former NBA referee Hugh Evans.

The induction ceremony will be held on September 10.


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