The truth is it’s been an incredible run.
How could you not love the gold generation? They are one of the greatest. Just ask the Basketball or Olympic Gods. Even after Team USA beat them handily in the end 105-78 Wednesday, the South American side gave the United States Of America one of their greatest tests yet in the Quarter Finals of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. This game of four quarters told a different story in the first half then the final buzzers outcome.
But as the nation waved goodbye to their Brazilian neighbours, Manu Ginobili bid a fond farewell to his country as well, like former NBA contemporary Andrei Nocioni. It’s unlikely the 39 year old San Antonio Spurs star could play in another Olympics for Tokyo 2020 if he wanted to. We’d lucky enough to see him in another NBA season after his big legendary teammate Tim Duncan just hung up his jersey which will soon take residence up in the rafters after almost 20 years in Texas for the 40 year old.
And fellow Olympian Tony Parker of France-who club teammate Emmanuel faced off with last week-won’t be too far behind either. Making at least his declaration for country official too this week.
You couldn’t tell Manu’s playing days were ready for the pasture however. The guy may be balding but his game is still as close a shave as his domed buzz cut. Ginobili was all over these Olympics like an eternal flame, dishing and diving whenever the ball called for it. The spring in his spry step reminded us of the spinning top speed and athleticism in his early Sa An days (it wasn’t all an ‘Inception’ dream) that garnered “GINOBILIIIIIII” cheers from NBA commentator and former 1992 Dream Team member Charles Barkley, who back then wouldn’t have cared about all of this like he didn’t the trouble Angolans were about to get into in Barcelona.
The passion of the man that bleeds powder blue is undeniable. His heart on the hardwood is huge and he’s the soul that flies the flag for Argentina. Arguably to basketball what Maradona was to soccer…and this guy can use his hands.
Let’s put ours together and hear it for him because it’s likely we’ll never see a player like him again.
Sure tears will be shed for Ginobili, but what Manu deserves more than anything, to thank him for everything he’s done is a standing ovation.
Ginobili always knew how to get them out their seats. And as he walked off the Olympic Basketball Arenas court for the last time this mid-week that’s exactly what he got.
And there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.