San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili has announced his retirement from basketball after a splendid 23-year career in Europe and the United States. The 41-year-old Argentinian is regarded as the most successful foreign player in the history of the NBA and he also is the only foreign player to have won four championships. Manu Ginobili has also won the Olympic Gold medal with the Argentinian national team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. He was selected for the All-Star Game on two occasions, in 2005 and 2011.
This is what he said on Twitter after announcing his retirement: "It's been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams." His career started in 1995 in Argentina, then continued abroad in Italy before he was picked by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1999 draft. He was sent back to Italy right away and didn't play in the NBA until 2002, when he finally started his spell at the Spurs. He won four championships with them between 2003 and 2014, scoring 14,043 points in the process. Ginobili is in the Spurs' franchise top five for games, points, assists and steals.
"Manu Ginobili is also a pioneer who helped globalise the NBA," said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. "He is one of basketball's greatest ambassadors who believes in the power of sports to change lives. For 16 years, we were fortunate to watch a legend compete at the highest level. Thank you, Manu, for a career that inspired millions of people around the world." Three-time NBA champion LeBron James added: "It was a pleasure to match up against you over the years. Regular season, Finals, National Team, didn't matter was always a treat!"
The new NBA season is set to kick off on October 16 and the San Antonio Spurs are 60/1 at Bet365 to win the championship.