When the Spurs made the decision to sign on Argentina’s Manu Ginobili in the 1999 draft, they were not that aware that they had made one of the greatest decisions that would eventually change the history of the team forever. Although it took Ginobili till the 2002-03, after several injuries to adjust to the way things are done at Spurs and at the NBA, when he did adjust, he became one of the greatest players in the history of the Spurs.
It is on record that Manu has the best plus-minus per 100 possessions of anyone who has played at least 20,000 minutes since 2000. It is also on records that he is the other player asides, Bill Bradley, to ever win a European title, an NBA title, and an Olympic gold medal.
Here is the history of the man many consider the Michael Jordan of Argentina.
His full name is Emmanuel David Manu Ginobili and he was born on June 28, 1977, in Bahia. He is the youngest of the three children of his parents – Jorge and Raquel Ginobili. His family is one that has produced professional basketballers, you wouldn’t be wrong to say the game runs in the blood, beginning with his father.
Manu’s father was a well-known basketball coach, he coached a club at Bahia Blanca. Two of Ginobili’s brothers Sebastian and Leandro were basketball players – Sebastian played in Spanish second tier level Liga Espanola de Baloncesto and also in the Argentine Local League, while his brother Leandro played for seven years in Argentine Basketball League and retired in 2003.
So Ginobili grew up loving the game of basketball, but then who in his position wouldn’t? Seeing the whole family is in love with the game? Manu cited popular and successful US basketball player in the 1980s and 90s Michael Jordan, as his major influencer in the game.
He began playing professionally with La Rioja of Andino Sports Club team, he was with the club from 1995-1996. He was later traded to Estudiantes de Bahía Blanca, where he remained till 1998. He then left for Italy where he joined the Italian basketball team Basket Viola Reggio Calabria and subsequently got promoted to the Italian 1st Division in 1999.
Fortunately for him, San Antonio Spurs picked him in the 1999 NBA draft at the 57th overall pick in the second round, however, he formally joined the Spurs basketball team in the 2002/2003 NBA season, but could not quickly adjust to the system of play at the NBA as he kept getting in and out of play as a result of several injuries.
Manu Ginobili soon became a man to watch in the Spurs team as he consistently kept the team on the peak of success winning most of his games. He equally attracted to himself so many awards almost in each season. One of such awards was as Argentina’s sportsperson of the year titled Olimpia de Oro, that is ‘Golden Olympia’ – this award brought him before the Argentine president at the time, Nestor Kirchner, a gym center was also dedicated in honor of Ginobili in his birthplace, Bahia Blanca.
In the history of NBA, Ginobili is acclaimed to be the only basketball player who has got multiple 20-point games off the bench, and apart from Michael Jordan, he is credited as the only basketball player to score 15-plus points in back-to-back games. Most of his career life has been with the Spurs basketball team as he has been renewing his contract with the team each season, the most recent renewal was on August 24, 2017.
Ginobili as a member of the Argentine senior national basketball team made his senior debut in Athens at the Fiba World Championship of 1998 and also won a silver medal in Fiba World Championship in 2002. He was the Argentine flag bearer at the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, China. He also played with his Argentine side in London Summer Olympics, 2012, and Rio Summer Olympics, 2016.
Other award honours that he attracted to himself included; Italian Cup Most Valuable Player in 2002, the most important sportsman of the decade in Argentina titled Diamond Konex Award 2010, two times Italian League MVP in 2001 and 2002, EuroLeague Finals Most Valuable Player in 2001, FIBA AmeriCup Most Valuable Player also in 2001, two times NBA All-Star in 2005 and 2011.
He equally won the following titles; Triple Crown Winner in 2001, Italian League Champion in 2001, two times Italian Cup Winner in 2001 and 2002, and many others.
Manu is multi-lingual as he communicates fluently in English, Italian and Spanish Languages, he loves Latin music, traveling, and watching movies. He has a dual nationality of Argentina and Italy.
Ginobili’s net worth is estimated to be $45million, and his salary was put at $14 million per year.
Manu Ginobili’s Family – Wife & Kids
Manu is happily married to a beautiful an Argentine woman by the name Marianela Orono and they have been married since 2004. They reportedly met in 1997, while Ginobili was still playing in Argentina.
Together, the couple has three children – twin boys Dante and Nicola who they welcomed in May 2010, and Luca, who arrived four years later in April 2014. The family lives in San Francisco.
The couple is so happy together and has been off scandals and rumors of divorce in their marriage of over a decade.
Ginobili revealed in an interview that his wife has been supportive and is the brains behind his extended career with the Spurs, “She’s always very helpful and extended my career”.
Together they launched the Manu Ginobili Foundation in 2006. The foundation is Manu’s way of giving back to the society and the aim is to help children in Argentine children.
The exceptional footballer stands at a height of 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) and weighs 205lb (93 kg).