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Gregg Popovich says Manu Ginobili was ‘the most curious, inquisitive player’ he has ever coached

Manu Ginobili, Gregg Popovich

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich had nothing but good things to say about the great Manu Ginobili, as the latter’s No. 20 jersey is set to be retired by the Spurs on Thursday night.

Speaking to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News, coach Pop described what Manu was like both on and off the court. Interestingly, according to Popovich, Ginobili actually has a very curious mind, always wanting to learn more about almost anything and everything under the sun.

“He’s probably the most curious, inquisitive player I’ve ever had,” Popovich said. “He wants to talk about conspiracy theories and religion and politics and the environment. He’s reading books about business models and paradigms. He’s interested in the people who pick up our garbage and do the laundry, just as much as he’s interested in talking to any of us.”

Ginobili is undeniably one of the most intelligent players we’ve ever come across, and his unmatched basketball IQ is second to none. The crafty 6-foot-6 shooting guard was never the most gifted of athletes, but by playing smart, he was able to stand out from the rest of the pack.

In 16 seasons with the Spurs organization — the only team he ever played for in the NBA — Ginobili averaged 13.3 points (on 44.7 percent shooting), 1.0 three-pointers, 3.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 steals. The former Sixth Man of the Year winner’s numbers are not exactly eye-popping, but simply put, these do not do justice to the type of impact Ginobili had with not only the Spurs, but on the entire league as well.