Monday, August 8, 2022

From the day Popovich told him to play toe for five seconds in an elevator: Ginobili’s disappointing encounter with Jordan

The only game Jordan and Ginobili shared in the NBA was in December 2002.

today’s day . is a special day in the life of Manu Ginobilik, The best Argentine basketball player in history turns 45 and He will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame in a few weeks of discipline in the United States. It will be another iconic moment in an illustrious career that includes four NBA championship rings, an Olympic gold medal with the national team, and numerous personal milestones that have made him a role model on and off the court.

Currently, Bahiense enjoys his life in San Antonio with the rest of his family members. He is a Special Operations Consultant for Spurs and his job is to closely monitor the development of the franchise’s young players. In addition, he continues his financial investments in technology startups and enjoys his long bike rides and playing tennis to keep the competitive spirit alive.

But if there is anything that remained pending for Manu in his life, it was a real encounter, as he wanted, with the man who marked his teenage years. Sure, we’re not talking about his father or some of his siblings. The character who inspired him in the game was Michael Jordan, The same one that marked an era in the NBA, dressed as the Chicago Bulls’ number 23. The same one that entered the lives of the Ginobili brothers when they turned on the TV in their home in Bahia Blanca and re-lived the plays on VCRs King,

The story goes that Ginobili was not able to fulfill his dream of playing against Jordan, As Argentina descended into the best basketball league on the planet, MJ spent his final months as a professional player. Following his second retirement in 1998 after winning a second three-time championship with the Bulls, Michael returned to play for the Washington Wizards when the United States suffered a terrorist attack. twin Towers in New York.

That day, Jordan scored 17 points in 35 minutes (Getty Images)
That day, Jordan scored 17 points in 35 minutes (Getty Images)

Manu was a young man who was still earning respect Greg Popovich You Tim Duncan When the first matchup of the season took place between Jordan’s team and Spurs. He was in the crosses played in San Antonio on December 21, 2002 and went on to win 92–81 for the locals. On that occasion, the Argentine was unable to take the field as she was sprained, but 10 days later, Manu thought she was going to take revenge.

A few years ago, as a die-hard fan of new technologies, Ginobili took advantage of his blog to describe how he was living that day, which meant that he had the power to face his biggest idol in his hand. . article titled “My Clash With MJ” And he used his memory when he was still an NBA player to express what happened on the last day of the year nearly two decades ago.

“In the same city where I am writing these lines, the only game I played was against my childhood hero, Michael Jordan. I remember it was December 31st and he was coming out of an ankle sprain. He even played the day before at Madison Square Garden for a brief period of time, maybe two or three minutes. Back then, pop was not the pop it is today and didn’t give gamers a break at all. The probability of playing the critical minute was low, but not zero. I would have been happy with five or six good minutes where maybe I was going to be able to mark him or maybe he could defend me., Who knows?” was the first part of his story.

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After that, Bahiens wrote that he thought he only played seven seconds in that game and didn’t even share the parquet with the winner of six NBA titles. In this context, Manu imagined himself with minutes in the second leg of the duel against the Wizards in San Antonio, but the coach had another idea in his mind.

“After the break I made sure I was ready for the rest of the game, I was flying during that warm up, I think I even did a windmill dunk once. Maybe by the end of the third quarter, he Thought that, at least to give Bruce Bowen a break, he might play. No, it didn’t. The game was even in the fourth quarter and Pop never used me again. Game over. Defeat. Not MJ. no interesting story to tell, 2002″ had a very bad ending, wrote Ginobili, before expressing that it was the first time he had told the twins, Dante and Nicola, were the famous Jordans.

“He told me that a friend at school told him that, a long time ago, there was a boy who was even better than LeBron James. So I told him who I was and showed him some memorable moments on YouTube. When I finished So I asked him: ‘Do you know that I once played against him?’, And I started telling them this story as their eyes got bigger and bigger.”

The then MCI Center in Washington was the meeting place that was not the case between Her Majesty and Ginobili (Getty Images)
The then MCI Center in Washington was the meeting place that was not the case between Her Majesty and Ginobili (Getty Images)

Already retired Manu once again recalled that pivotal moment at the start of his playing career. “Five seconds I played”, he confessed in a conversation with the program this year. everything happens of Urbana Play, “I was on the same court, I got the ball and I threw a banana from the half court and Jordan was on the other end. Pop doesn’t cast me anymore. He never found out what he had done to me and for me it was a very serious crime. I needed five seconds and didn’t take any more. Court is 28 meters, I have it 16 . was closest toadded MG to his dialogue about not meeting Jordan.

After the disappointment of not being able to face his idol, Ginobili’s career continued while His Majesty ended at the age of 39. In such a situation, the number 20 player of San Antonio will be able to tell his acquaintances that he has reached 41 with the ball in hand. But he wouldn’t be able to say that he was able to have a deep face-to-face with Jordan, even outside of his role as a player.

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Just when everyone thought this anecdote was the only one between the two Olympic champions, another meeting ensued that was another chapter in the disagreement between the two NBA icons. During one of the last seasons of their campaign, the Spurs traveled to the city of Charlotte to face the Hornets, a franchise owned by Jordan. Set up in the hotel waiting for the match, Ginobili touched the elevator button and, as the door opened, a figure about 2 meters tall was inside the elevator.,

“Once I was in the hotel before I played, the elevator opened for me and he was there. I stuttered and couldn’t bring myself to ask him anything. Then I went there a couple of times on the pitch, but Nothing more than that”, Manu said of that day.

Time passed and Ginobili, solitary in the intimacy of his basketball retirement, never crossed over with Jordan again. Yes, they did it with a character they both respected and for whom 23 was practically their mentor, like Kobe Bryant, At the 2019 World Cup in China, the star of Argentina and the Los Angeles Lakers shared a seat to watch the impressive performance of the Sergio Hernandez-led Argentina team that reached the runners-up position.

Manu had a life-size Jordanian poster in the living room of his home in Bahia Blanca (@manuginobili)
Manu had a life-size Jordanian poster in the living room of his home in Bahia Blanca (@manuginobili)

Months after that meeting on the Asian continent, fate would be black Mamba He died along with one of his daughters and other crew members in a dramatic plane crash that ended with his Star helicopter in California. The Memorial hosted by the Los Angeles franchise at Lakers Stadium brought them together again, but each one took their rightful place on the day that saddened the sports world.

“I had a life-size poster in my room, and I used to talk to her at night. When my brother left and I was alone in that room, sometimes I would talk to him. he was more of a mythological character than real”, Ginobili said of his special relationship with Jordan. For now, that long-awaited meeting hasn’t happened yet. For Manu, the image of the player who captivated him in childhood remains almost the same, as he managed to share a few seconds on the court and outside the box as well.

Perhaps, next September 9, when the Argentine is giving his speech as a new member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, TV cameras will be able to capture his idol appreciating the Argentine when he was still a boy. , he had a conversation with the sports icon that marked his life.

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