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With enshrinement complete, Hall Of Famer Manu Ginobili caps an incredible basketball career

"I'm here because I was part of two of the most important teams of the 2000s," Ginobili said.

SAN ANTONIO — From Bahia Blanca, Argentina, Italy, San Antonio to Springfield, Massachusetts, San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili completes his storied basketball career with his named and face etched among the greatest to ever play the game.

His basketball resume doesn't need repeating. By now the world knows what he accomplished in a Silver and Black uniform and in his Argentina jersey.

Now he's where his journey was pointing to with every Eurostep, clutch shot, Olympic Gold medal, fist pump, and point scored - in the Naismith Basketball Hall Of Fame.

Credit: HoopHall/SlapBoxCreative
MONTVILEE, CT. Friday, September 9, 2022. Manu Ginobili poses for portraits in the Shinnecock Ballroom at Mohegan Sun in Montville, CT. NOTE TO USER: Mandatory Copyright Notice: Photo by Royce Parris (instagram: royceparris_)/SLAPBOX CREATIVE

"It's been a long journey," Ginobili said. "I'm not here because I was super special. I'm here because I was part of two of the most important teams of the 2000s. With the Spurs winning four NBA championships and with the Argentina National team winning gold in 2004."

Ginobili made sure to mention all teams he played for leading up to his moment at Springfield.

His time in Italy paying for former Spurs coach Ettore Messina, his time playing professionally in Argentina at 18-years old and the park next to his home in Bahia Blanca that his mother would take him where he'd play each and every day.

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He even remembered teams he played for that were not as successful.

"I also want to talk about the teams that were not that successful but for me were fundamental stepping stones to get here. Without those steps, I was not going to be a player," he said.

Each early playing spot mentioned by Ginobili were building blocks to ultimately being draft by the Spurs in 1999 in the second round No. 57.

"I could not believe it," he said about being draft by the Spurs. "I thought it was a mistake. A language thing. I had zero expectations. Zero. I never had conversations it the Spurs. My agent never told me I could have been drafted. I didn't even know where San Antonio was in the world."

His time with the Spurs is where he shined brightest on basketball's biggest stage.

The accolades, the wins, the memories, the franchise's culture he experienced for 16 seasons meant a lot to him.

He thanked Gregg Popovich, Duncan, Boris Diaw, Fabricio Oberto, Matt Bonner, Bruce Bowen, staff, and countless others that he fought back tears.

And he recognized Tony Parker, who was in attendance, for keeping their egos in check.

"TP we had our priorities straight," he said. "We never let our egos get in the way. We knew when it was your time. We knew when it was my time and when it was his [Duncan] time which was most of the time."

It was a whirlwind weekend for Ginobili.

He received his Hall jacket, his ring, met with fans, and likely more importantly, his family was at his side.

His sons presented him with his Hall jacket and his wife and bothers were witnessing his amazing accomplishment.

Credit: Getty

His Argentina long time friends and teammates were in attendance - Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni, Oberto - made their way to Springfield to show their support and he recognized their contributions to his career playing for the National Team and being brothers to him.

Where he had to muster strength to hold back his emotions as he addressed his parents in Spanish thanking them for their love and support and addressing his sons.

"As you heard, a lot of things happened to me in my career but if I had to choose one moment where to stop time and enjoy forever, it would be right now with you," Ginobili said to his sons watching from their seats.

Basketball, fans yelling his name as loudly as they can, his former teammates, friends, and family were together under one roof to support him as he capped an amazing career.

"Thank you to the Hall, and the whole Class of 2022," he said in closing. "It's been a pleasure. Thank you all for being here. I'm looking forward to more adventures together." 

Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5

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