Let this be said before anything else, Manu Ginobili is my favorite basketball player to ever live. His passion, his drive, his overall demeanor, and just the way he was with fans all made him out to be one of the most lovable players to ever don the silver and black. Tim is the best who’s ever lived, but Manu will always be most every Spurs fans favorite player.
It was a pretty decent game, but that’s not why the stadium was packed. In years past the Cav’s would’ve been a huge game and people would’ve paid hand over fist for tickets because of Lebron. But the King went out west, Cleveland took a hard dip, and this game, other than the needed win, was fairly regular.
That being said, it was a close game, they changed leads a bunch of times, Patty had a dynamite three to seal the win, and the environment in AT&T was as good as it usually is. Like I said though, we weren’t here for a game. We were there to immortalize a hero.
During Timeouts in the game, they played Manu highlights, and gave out #20 Jerseys, the whole nine, but after the game the lights went out, a 25 minute counter went on the screen and the videos started playing.
Videos of his teammates talking about him, videos of his all time greatest plays, but the one that got to me the most was the one where they talked about how much he loved the fans he played for. (watch it here) Manu Ginobili is ours as much as we are his. He’s Hispanic, so hes kin. He’s all about his family, so he’s like us. He’s a salt of the earth, blue collar, hard working player just like so much of us in San Antonio. Most of all he was as loyal to the silver and black as any player in team history has ever been. He embodies everything that is good about this city. His passion for his work, his love for the people around him, and his commitment to excellence is what sets him apart from the rest of the players in his era, those same things are what separates San Antonio from every other city in America.
His teammates talked after the videos. Pop said “there’s no championships without Manu” and said he’ll go to the Hall of Fame, Tony said that he made him a better player and a better man, and Timmy relived the night Manu was drafted, and laughed at the sheer “Manuness” of the player, all of it was a love letter from a city to her favorite player. Now #20 will hang in the rafters forever, I get chills and a tear in my eye just thinking about it.
Gracias por todo Manu. This city will be forever grateful for what you did for us. If you ever read this, know that there’s a spot at any dinner table, in any house, in any neighborhood in the Alamo City just for you.