Ginobili, Argentina provided United States wake-up call a decade ago

Manu GinobiliJust like the 1992 Dream Team changed basketball for good a little over 20 years ago, another team caused changes to the international basketball landscape.

Former San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson and his teammates on that 1992 Olympic team were responsible for the rest of the world falling in love with the sport of basketball and all but ensured Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili played basketball and are not on a soccer field right now.

Just like young fans glared at their television screens in amazement at Michael Jordan, many fans in South America were in awe of Manu Ginobili 10 years ago yesterday.

While the rest of the world caught up and started narrowing the gap on the United States' domination, it took a team effort by Ginobili, former Spur Fabricio Oberto, Spurs draft pick Luis Scola and the entire Argentina national team to give the United States their biggest challenge yet during the FIBA World Championships in Indiana.

That loss and another loss left the United States with an unexpected sixth place finish.

Ginobili said playing against a team who had been unbeaten for 58 games was a big challenge, according to an interview he did with CanchaLlena.

"That game against the Dream Team we played with a constant tension and adrenaline. 'Cause you're facing an opponent that no one had ever won before. Were 58 games unbeaten. At a time you're 18 or 16 up and constantly say' We will overcome, we will overcome. "Or for example, say between us: 'The next attack we have to defend well, because if we fall apart 14 to 12 can be complicated.'" recalled months ago Emanuel Ginobili to canchallena.com.

Ginobili went on to beat the United States two years later to win gold in the 2004 Athens Olympics, which caused the United States to make big changes and make plays for the NBA's best players.

So while Ginobili and Argentina may have come short of medaling in London, they should be credited with more than winning a gold medal. Ten years ago yesterday, they served as the wake-up call to the United States just as the United States had done for the rest of the world.

For more on the landmark win and some video from the game, visit CanchaLlena.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

Quantcast