In the wake of Manu Ginobili’s retirement from the game of basketball, Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics admitted that part of the reason why he sports the number 20 on his jersey is actually the Argentine legend.
Via his Twitter, Hayward posted a throwback photo of him guarding Ginobili.
— Gordon Hayward (@gordonhayward) August 28, 2018
Hayward is just one among the many NBA players who shared a word or two on how Ginobili influenced their personal game and his overall impact in basketball.
Ginobili, whose NBA career spanned 16 years, all with the San Antonio Spurs, announced his retirement via Twitter.
Today, with a wide range of feelings, I'm announcing my retirement from basketball. IMMENSE GRATITUDE to everyone (family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, fans) involved in my life in the last 23 years. It's been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams. pic.twitter.com/3MLCUtmd6K
— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) August 27, 2018
Jack Winter ·
During his NBA tenure, the 6-foot-6 guard averaged 13.3 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game. He also won four championships, Sixth Man of the Year honors, a couple of All-Star nods, and an All-NBA Third Team selection along the way. Outside the NBA, Ginobili led the Argentinian basketball squad to a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics and a bronze in 2008.
Ginobili helped popularize the euro-step — a move which has been utilized since time immemorial in Europe — in the NBA. Once he stepped foot in the league in 1999, the euro-step became somewhat his signature move, which allowed him to slip into the creases of the defense and finish around the rim. The move has evolved but hasn’t lost its surefire effectiveness. Players like Dwyane Wade and James Harden have also become popular for perfecting the euro-step.
Also, Ginobili is one of the first stars who willingly took on a bench role for the benefit of the team. Indeed, Ginobili’s influence on the game of basketball includes not just fancy yet deadly moves, but grit and fierce competitiveness — something we only see in the greats.