The first report from the 1250am ESPNSA Radio show ‘The Blitz’ was that Manu Ginobili would be out 3-4 weeks and would miss the rest of the regular season.
Later in the show, the two deejays, Jason Minnix and former All-Pro Dallas Cowboys linebacker Dat Nguyen, chimed in with more ‘breaking’ news, saying a source was indicating that Manu would be retiring at the end of the season. The source was citing the injuries for Manu were adding up and he would not be signing a new contract.
Apparently, the switchboard lit up.
As the calls mounted up, Jason Minnix decided to tell everyone “April Fool’s” and all the calls dropped.
Pretty good April Fools joke played on the city.
People bought in on it because Ginobili’s injuries are coming more often and he is not as productive as he used to be. His retirement is not too far off.
Not having Manu around anymore will be a sad day, but nobody wants it to be coming this soon.
Manu is considered the most popular of the ‘Big 3’ in San Antonio. Tim Duncan’s legendary career, Tony Parker’s Finals MVP and most recent seasons of incredible play, still put them behind Ginobili in the Alamo City. There are always more jerseys with #20 than any other at Spurs home games.
Ginobili is 35 years old, playing in his 11th season with the Spurs. Before playing with the Spurs, Ginobili played a few seasons in Argentina and Italy, winning championships and League MVP honors, including Euroleague MVP.
Will Ginobili make the Basketball Hall Of Fame?
It’s possible. Among his triumphs are 3 NBA championships and one Gold Medal with Argentina. He’s the most notable non-American NBA player to win Gold. A couple more seasons of impressive play and helping the Spurs advance to the Finals will help his chances for the Hall.
Averaging 66 games and 27+ minutes played per season, Ginobili is shooting 45% from the field and 37% from 3-point range. He gets 15 ppg with 4 assists and 4 rebounds. He also gets 1.5 steals per game.
But what makes Manu great is his crowd-pleasing, acrobatic shot making and passing style. He outhustles opponents and he does things when least expected, including steals to ignite a fast break or the back-breaking 3 pointer to help the Spurs surge ahead.
All of this and yet Ginobili may most be remembered for swatting down a bat flying around down near the court at AT&T center on Halloween night. See video.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com