SAN ANTONIO — Before the soon-to-be Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Manu Ginobili enters basketball immortality, he had a choice to make.
Who will be his presenter to the Hall Of Fame committee?
According to Hall rules, a person entering must be presented for enshrinement by someone already enshrined. And Ginobili could have asked any basketball legend who is in the Hall to do him the honor.
He could have asked Charles Barkley who famously yells Manu's last name and who will be a presenter for other candidates in the 2022 Class. Michael Jordan is another, considering Ginobili had posters of him as a kid and idolized him growing up in Argentina. Closer to home, he could have asked George Gervin to present him considering he is the first San Antonio Spurs player to be enshrined, and is a fan of Manu.
But for Ginobili, the choice was clear — it had to be his long-time San Antonio teammate, Tim Duncan.
"Well, there aren't many Argentinians that I played with that are in the Hall of Fame, and Tim — I played 14 years with him," Ginobili said.
That pair formed two-thirds of the franchise's vaunted "Big 3" along with Tony Parker who is also up for Hall of Fame selection in 2023.
For decades, Ginobili and Duncan racked up wins, made deep playoff runs, won four NBA titles together, and even played together in two NBA All-Star games (2005, 2011) where Duncan poked fun of Manu's "rocker" hairstyle when he had flowing locks.
However, Ginobili still had one other option as far as selecting a presenter.
The Spurs boast another Hall member, David Robinson.
Robinson is a fan of Ginobili, they won a title together in 2003, and often wore his jersey to games during Manu's playing days.
And Ginobili did consider Robinson for a moment until he reflected on the Spurs teammate lineage up to his big moment today in Springfield.
"David [Robinson] could have been another option, but I thought David was the right man for Tim and Tim for me," Ginobili said. "It was a no-brainer."
Ginobili enters the Hall with a basketball resume that includes an outstanding international career that includes Olympic medals, and Euroleague championships.
His NBA resume is just as outstanding with an NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, NBA All-Star selections, and NBA titles.
But for Ginobili, he knows he would not have much of that NBA success without his presenter at his side for many seasons in San Antonio.
And that is another reason why he chose Duncan over the many Hall of Famers he could have picked for his presentation.
"I owe TD big time," Ginobili said. "There's no Hall of Fame talk if TD is not on my team. We know that!"
"It was the right thing to do," he said.
Ginobili is set to enter the Hall Of Fame Saturday night in Springfield and become the fourth Spur in franchise history to receive the honor.
Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5