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Manu Ginobili calls 2014 championship his favorite

Manu Ginobili, Spurs

After officially retiring from the game of basketball, San Antonio Spurs all-time great Manu Ginobili will no longer need to report to training camp next week. Instead, he’ll have all the time in the world to reminisce and bask in the glory of his illustrious 16-year NBA career.

Throughout that time, Manu has done basically everything there is to do. From sinking game-winning jump shots to breaking records, and even slapping a bat straight out of mid-air, the long-time Spurs sixth man has a wealth of experience to look back on.

Despite all these personal accolades, though, Ginobili fondest memories still involve bringing home a championship — particularly the one in 2014.

This Spurs and Miami Heat series will forever be remembered as a battle between the best team and the best trio. Following a triumphant return to the NBA Finals, after beating San Antonio the year before, many thought a Heat three-peat was all but done. But the Black and Silver proved they still had a lot of fight in them, ultimately ending things in five games.

While this is undoubtedly an incredible team effort, Ginobili has a more personal reason why this is the most precious achievement to him.

Here’s a full quote, as reported by Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“I was carrying a very heavy load in my bag for what happened the year before,” Ginobili said. “Being able to leave that aside, feel that I helped the team to accomplish that goal, was huge. A very important moment of my career. We did it with a great team, a team that played great in a fun way, altruistically. And I was already older. When I got here and we won the first championship, I didn’t appreciate it. I didn’t know what was going on, how hard it was. At 37, and after a couple of frustrating moments where we were very close, that was very fulfilling and a big joy.”

Very few people were probably aware of how hard that 2013 loss affected Ginobili. But seeing how he channeled that emotion, before turning into pure motivation, is another reason why he’s seen as a great player.

Having this ability to bounce back after such a heartbreaking loss only solidifies his legacy as a champion who knows what it takes to win.