Springfield, Mass. – It was a bit ironic on Saturday night for Manu Ginobili, the final player who entered the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a showman.
When you think about, for example, the class of 2020 is so crowded with super talent – Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett in the same year – Ginobili pictured as 13 members The 2022 Symphony Hall announcer recruit was unexpected.
Which makes sense in a strange way, given that the 6-foot-6 Argentinian goalkeeper doesn’t fit the typical Hall of Fame mold.
Ginobili is a remote area on multiple fronts. He’s hit the sports shrine despite coming off the bench in 67% of his NBA appearances (708 of 1,057, to be exact). Reserves are generally not considered for the highest individual honor in the game.
But of course, Ginobili was no ordinary reserve.
His traditional stats – 13.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.8 apg – aren’t what most people think of, either, when they conjure up the game’s greats. But those numbers were just a small piece of Ginobili’s value to the San Antonio Spurs.
Then there is the continuity Ginobili, who is now 45, is associated with this team. Sixteen seasons, all with the same franchise, same city, same fans, same coach (Greg Popovich), same goalkeeper (Tony Parker), and over 14 of those 16 years, same power forward (Duncan). Results? Four NBA championships, and for Ginobili, the title of best player in league history (0.721 percentage), slightly better than Duncan or Parker.
In a league where the entry and exit of players, coaches, and trucks moving like fruit and bars swing in an overheated slot machine, this level of consistency may be undisputed this side of the Bill Russell Celtics. It’s a long shot that we’ll be seeing someone stick and succeed in one place for a long time, with so many unchanging parts, anytime soon.
“I’m not here because I was special,” Ginobili said towards the end of the two-hour curated show. “I am here because I have been part of two of the most important teams… with Tottenham winning four NBA championships and Argentina winning [Olympic] He went in 2004.”
This brings up another oddity in Ginobili’s Hall nomination for merit: Hardcore critics who may have pointed to his stats and his role in the NBA as under-deserved generally admitted that when his playing in FIBA and the International Olympics was considered, it was hard to deny the sixth man honors. hyperactive
However, Ginobili became the first foreign player to be voted into the hall by the North American Committee, which meant his NBA resume was enough to open the door.
What the 2022 class may lack in outstanding strength, it has made up for in the depth and breadth of its players, coaches and shareholders.
Newcomers associated with the NBA include All-Star goalkeeper Tim Hardaway, stormy coach George Karl, recently deceased referee Hugh Evans, former Hawks star Lou Hudson and voting shareholders, and former coaches Del Harris and Larry Costello.
Other 2022 class members: NCAA men’s coach Bob Huggins, WNBA alumni Lindsey Wallen and Swen Cash, women’s college coaches Marian Stanley and Teresa Shank Grintz, Yugoslav star Radivoj Korac and three leading African-American picks dating back to the early Harlem Globetrotters. By: White (Sonny) Boswell, Lyman Jackson and Albert (Ront) Bollins.
All of the 2022 defenders, even the seven who entered the hall posthumously, were supported by family, friends and representatives of their basketball trips.
But the Ginobili battalion was the largest and the loudest, and called from several continents and four decades, it departs from the first mention of his name. You’d think Paul Pierce or any other Celtic would come back, pull fans up the road in Boston.
Not bad for the 57th overall pick for the 1999 draft.
I thought, ‘What?! “I couldn’t believe it,” Ginobili said of his shock when he chose San Antonio at that point. He was outside, and he had no idea it was about to happen. “I thought it was a mistake. I had no expectations. zero.”
Instead, Ginobili has become an example of a player willing to do anything, and do it even harder to help his team win. All this happened long before Charles Barclay, on the set of Inside the NBA, made “GINOBILI!” His call to arms during Spurs.
“Tottenham was a big and supportive family to me,” he said. “So many wins, so many losses, so many friends, so many amazing experiences.”
Duncan served as Ginobili’s sole presenter, referring to the role he played in his teammate’s career – and Hall’s calling. During his speech, Ginobili addressed and thanked San Antonio’s greatest players, and also singled out Popovic and Parker sitting in the first few rows.
But he didn’t stop there.
“To win a championship and to become a real team, you need a full set of pieces in place,” Ginobili said. “And we had a lot of them.”
The list that began with fellow roles Bruce Bowen and Matt Bonner soon expanded, with too many names to call Ginobili. His love and appreciation for their time together was evident.
“When I was playing with you, we had a blast. Preparing for those games, going to those games, winning together… It was awesome.”
That was the NBA side of Ginobili’s journey. In Ephesus, for 18 years, he has found equal success and equal pleasure in staying true to his roots.
He said: “The crazy thing about my career was that while all of this was happening with Tottenham, at the same time I had another career. And it was sponsoring…as exciting and fun as the Tottenham game, and that was with my Argentina national team.”
There were a lot of differences on stage on Saturday. Karl ranks sixth on all-time NBA wins in the regular season. Hardaway has become synonymous with his killer dodge. Evans became the seventh referee in the NBA to make the Hall and the first black man out of 17 referees overall.
Hudson and Costello had slipped through the voting cracks in the hall for far too long, and the 85-year-old Harris seemed headed in that direction as well until the winners of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Fourth Final were announced in New Orleans. The 2022 recruits from other classes and backgrounds were pretty cool in their own right.
But the humble “gum man”, Ginobili, became the star of the night and handled the matter with kindness and glee.
Saturday’s event marked a return to the Royal Symphony Hall. The Class of 2021 was honored last September at the downtown Springfield Convention Center during a concert hall renovation. The facade and steps of the traditional venue are designed for a more impressive red carpet entrance for VIPs.
Tonight’s program began with a tribute to legendary Boston Celtics center Bill Russell, led by Hall of Famers Jerry West and Alonzo Mourning. Russell, who was revered for winning 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons, died on July 31 at the age of 88.
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