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Manu Ginobili, the face of Argentina in the NBA

Until the 2021-22 NBA season, 15 Argentine-born basketball players have played in the best basketball league in the world, but only Manu Ginóbili has made his mark after winning four championships and being named an All-Star twice.

Emanuel David Ginóbili was born 45 years ago in Bahía Blanca and had a fast and successful career in the National Basketball League and Italian basketball before joining the NBA.

Although ‘Manudona’ was recruited by the San Antonio Spurs with the 57th overall selection in the 1999 Draft, the shooting guard did not come to the NBA until the 2002-03 campaign. In his rookie year he was named to the All-Rookie Second Team and won his first Larry O’Brien trophy by beating the New Jersey Nets.

Over the course of his career, Ginobili added the other three NBA Finals championship trophies in 2005, 2007 and 2014 after beating the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, respectively.

His best season as a professional was in 2007-08 when he reached averages of 19.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.5 after playing as a substitute in 51 of the 74 games he played. With those numbers he was recognized as the best Sixth Man.

His best individual performance in the NBA was on January 21, 2005 when he scored 48 points, dished out six assists and had five rebounds against Steve Nash’s Phoenix Suns.

After 16 seasons in the NBA, the player from Bahia played 1,057 regular season games with the Spurs and registered averages of 13.3 points, 3.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 rebounds per game with a success rate of 44.7 percent of his shots.

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Manuel out of the NBA

In addition to his NBA championships, Ginóbili’s career outside of it is full of both individual and collective awards. During his time in Italian basketball he was the MVP in the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons with Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna. Likewise, he won the EuroLeague with Virtus in 2001 and was also named the Most Valuable Player of the competition.

The shooting guard participated in four editions of the Olympic Games and was part of the Argentine team that won the gold medal in Athens 2004 after beating Team USA in the semifinals and Italy in the duel for first place. After a bronze in Beijing 2008, the albiceleste did not reach the podium in the London 2012 (4th place) and Rio 2016 (8th place) editions.

In the history of the Olympic Games, the Bahiense is the sixth highest scorer with 523 points. The record belongs to the Brazilian Oscar Schmidt, who disputed the editions from 1980 to 1996, with 1,093.

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