SAN ANTONIO – It could stand as one of the worst kept secrets in basketball.
Well, at least it came as no surprise to Spurs fans.
On Saturday it became official that Manu Ginobili would be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. This was Ginobili’s first year being chosen for induction.
“There were some conversations along the way, people were telling me it was going to happen,” Ginobili said on Saturday. “On Monday I received a call from the Hall of Fame telling me that I had been officially elected. Before it was just rumors and the moment you get the confirmation it’s very special.”
During Sunday’s Spurs game against the Portland Trail Blazers, a game the Spurs won 113-92 to win the season series, the crowd took time out to give Manu a standing ovation for his Hall of Fame announcement .
The two-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA champion addressed the media at the AT&T Center on Saturday afternoon, shortly after the official announcement at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in New Orleans, Louisiana.
“I’m here because of my environment, the players I’ve played with, the coaches I’ve been coached with and the organisations,” said Ginobili. “I don’t see it as an individual achievement. It’s just that I was in the right place at the right time and doing what I could and we all improve each other and that’s why I’m here.”
Ginobili joins 12 other honorees including five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway. He was part of the Golden State Warriors’ fast offensive line, known as “Run TMC”, starting in 1989. Former Spurs player and assistant coach George Karl will join Ginobili and Hardaway. The former 2013 NBA Coach of the Year and four-time NBA All-Star Coach is ranked sixth in the NBA for career coaching wins. Karl played for Spurs from 1973-1978 and was an assistant coach to Spurs head coach Doug Moe during the 1978-1980 season.
🇬🇧This is another thing you never expect when you start playing ball. Thanks to everyone who helped me on this journey! 🙏
🇦🇷Otra de las cosas que nunca soñás cuando empezás a picar la pelotita naranja! Gracias a todos los que me acompañaron en este camino! 🙏 https://t.co/S3K4ScZm6F
— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) April 2, 2022
The 2008 NBA Sixth Man of the Year winner shared his first impressions of San Antonio during his press conference: the heat and not knowing exactly where the city is located. Ginobili admitted he knew the Spurs had just won the NBA Finals before being selected by the team in the 1999 NBA draft. Manu was picked up in the second round and joined the team in 2002.
He also took the time to share his thoughts on how he’s played his entire career with head coach Gregg Popovich.
“Well, the first two years were a bit rough,” Ginobili joked. “It wasn’t easy getting used to a coach like him. We both started to respect and appreciate each other what their true mission and goals were and why I played the way I did and why he coached me the way he did. We started making compromises and then it got great.”
Ginobili added, “Not much was expected from a 57th pick, so I guess I have a story to tell.”
Ginobili, whose number was retired by the Spurs in 2019, also reflected on which NBA championships held special meaning for him. He also spoke about when he finally felt like he belonged with the Spurs and why he and his family decided to stay in San Antonio after retiring from the NBA after 16 seasons.
The Hall of Fame Weekend will be held September 9-10 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 for over 18 years and is an award-winning producer. To submit story ideas, send an email firstname.lastname@example.org
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https://www.ksat.com/sports/2022/04/04/ginobili-reflects-on-hall-of-fame-class-of-2022-selection/ Ginobili ponders Hall of Fame Class of 2022 selection