Manu Ginobili was inconsolable after 2006 playoffs exit
After hitting keys shots within the last few minutes of the game, the NBA legend fouled another one, sending Dirk Notwizki to the free-throw line with an and-1 layup. Nowitzki predictably made the shot, leveling the score in a game that was then taken to overtime. The Mavericks were eventually victorious in overtime, which meant that they progressed past Ginobili’s team.
During a long, painful summer, the Argentinian took sole responsibility for the series loss and blamed himself to anyone he would talk to. He felt as though he had cost members of the team that hadn’t won a ring at that point the opportunity to become champions.
“I don’t say this lightly, but we all told each other: We have to stick with Manu,” said Marks. “We had to talk him off the ledge. We had everyone calling, texting, trying to hang out with him.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person so hard on himself,” Spurs GM R.C. Buford said in an earlier interview. “He is maybe the greatest competitor that we have ever witnessed here.”
Ginobili has won two NBA championships since in 2007 and 2014, but it is likely that he will still struggle dealing with the memory of 2004, as great competitors never forget.