San Antonio (USA), (EFE) .- He had said of the greatness of Manu Ginobili as the best basketball player in the history of his country and also one of the “good guys” in the NBA, but he missing the night of the withdrawal of the shirt with the No. 20 that he dressed for 16 years with the Spurs de San Antonio so that he would have the definitive consecration.
The AT & T Center of San Antonio, the scene of so many sporting successes achieved by Ginobili, no less than four league titles with the Spurs, received him a few months after giving his final “goodbye” to active basketball and he did it to recognize him that without him there could never have been a new dynasty in the NBA.
He was recognized by another legend of the Tejano franchise, coach Gregg Popovich, who in the speech prior to the withdrawal of the shirt from “Manu” was the one that best defined the figure of Ginobili throughout the night.
“His winning mentality and fighting spirit is something I’ve never seen in my life as a professional,” Popovich said. “It impregnated us with a winning character, that without it we would never have achieved it”.
In addition, Popovich also extended the class and talent shown by Ginobili to the rest of the “Golden Generation” of Argentine basketball, which he defined as “one of the best teams I saw in my life”.
From there, the consecration of Ginobili was already official as well as that of the Argentine team that was proclaimed World and Olympic Champion.
In the midst of so much deserved and just praise, to the figure of Ginobili, Argentine and Latin American basketball raised as never before the image at the highest level among the best in the world.
As in his time he did also the Panamanian Rolando Blackman, whom the Dallas Mavericks also awarded the distinction of the withdrawal of the number of his shirt, the first Latin American who got it in the NBA.
Ginobili also showed the best sports image of a great country like Argentina, with figures of the exceptional stature of Diego Armando Maradona and Lionell Messi, with whom they already want to compare Ginobili.
At least that was what the journalist Adrián Paenz, moderator of the presentation in the half time and in Spanish of the colleagues of the Golden Generation who arrived at the AT & T Center headed Fabricio Oberto, Luis Scola, Alejandro Montecchia, Pablo Prigioni, Andrés Nocioni , Pepe Sánchez and Gabriel Fernández.
All of them, in a humorous way and with personal anecdotes, praised the figure of Ginobili in the most human section, of companion, friend, and person who is always there to help others.
With the only jarring note was again the “bad” reputation that Nocioni has generated in terms of how “disordered” Ginobili was when they had to share both the same room in the rallies, especially the one they saw in the last Olympic Games of Rio de Janeiro 2016.
“You will love it here, in San Antonio, Manu, but it’s because you did not have to have it as a roommate as it happened to me and it’s really messy,” Nocioni told the fans who filled the rooms. tiers of the AT & T Center.
While Paenza thanked all the support that San Antonio has given to Ginobili with the recognition that will always be linked to the greatness of the best basketball player in the history of Argentina, as Napoli is to the figure of Maradona and Barcelona to that of Messi
To conclude Paenza stressed that “Manu is one of the best, but the best athlete in Argentine history.”
Out of the field, all the comrades of Ginobili reiterated that nothing that is said about him is enough to show the human and professional class he possesses.
While the assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Ettore Messina, who was the first to lead Ginobili when he arrived at the European country’s basketball, acknowledged that he never thought he would reach that high.
“But the most important thing is that he is still the same person as 20 years ago,” Messina said. “Nothing has changed since he was that boy in his attitude of humility, character and dedication, so today we will see many people crying, including me,” Messina declared before the Spurs’ 116-110 match began. the Cavaliers and they dedicated it to Ginobili.
Then came the historic moment of the ceremony of the withdrawal of number 20, which was released the message of congratulation sent by the president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, and the name Ginóbili was immortalized along with Johnny Moore (00) , Avery Johnson (6), Bruce Bowen (12), James Silas (13), Tim Duncan (21), Sean Elliott (32), George Gervin (44) and David Robinson (50) .EFE