San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili will be participating in the 2011 FIBA World Championships this summer. The tournament will be held in Mar de Plata, a major city in Argentina (Ginobili’s home country.)
Ginobili recently spoke with Fiba.com about what it means to host the tournament in his country and the risk of participating in international play.
To suggest the occasion is going to be an emotional one for the 2004 Olympic champion and the others in Argentina’s golden generation who are still in the squad is an understatement.
This is going to be one of the most important summers of their lives.
“I notice the enthusiasm of the people,” the 33-year-old Ginobili says, when asked about the event that is going to be staged in Mar del Plata.
“I speak to Luis (Scola), Chapu (Andres Nocioni) and Fabri (Fabricio Oberto), and it makes me happy because it will be a unique experience for all of us.
“After all of what we have experienced in the past, to return to play at home, among our people, it is going to be fantastic.”
Oberto was forced to retire early with the Portland Trail Blazers because he was at risk of a heart condition. Per the FIBA article, if doctors give him clearance, Oberto will be able to play in the games this summer.
Even without Oberto, Argentina would be among the favorites to win the gold medal because they also have Milwaukee’s Carlos Delfino and veteran national team stars Leo Gutierrez and Pablo Prigioni in the squad.
“We will be fighting to reach the Olympic Games,” Ginobili says.
For Ginobili, the majority of his focus will be on recovering from his elbow injury he sustained at the end of the Spurs’ season.
“It is just a question of resting two or three weeks.
“They recommended that the first few days of training, I use a pad on my elbow to prevent any knocks.
“But they think I will not need to use it for the pre-Olympic (FIBA Americas Championship) and from now, there will no problems for me to play.”
Ginobili has not participated in international play since 2008. Then, he was injured in the Olympic games and wasn’t 100% heading into training camp with the Spurs for the new season.
With rumors of a lockout about to strike the NBA in the summer, a good majority of players are gearing up to play internationally. Spurs guard Tony Parker, forward Tiago Splitter and Rockets forward Luis Scola are among some of the names. The risk of playing international basketball in the summer and staying healthy is one these players know they are getting themselves into.
“It is a delicate issue because the franchises say that if one is not 100% the first day of pre-season training, they can end the contract without prior notice,” Ginobili says.
“But my situation and that of (Houston Rockets forward) Luis Scola are different, even though we both carried injuries.
“I don´t think that if I arrive with an injury that would make me sit out one month, (that) the team will end my contract.
“I don´t think there will be a problem for me to be in Mar del Plata.”
Well Spurs fans, it looks like Manu is ready to play this summer once he’s healed. What are your thoughts?