San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili announced yesterday he will play for Team Argentina this summer at the FIBA World Cup in Spain despite playing a long NBA season which led to the Spurs winning the 2014 NBA title.
Yet despite the fact he will have a long offseason of playing on the court, Manu says the decision to suit up once more for his home country wasn’t an easy decision.
In his column for Argentinian site La Nacion, Ginobili spoke about his decision to play in Spain over the summer and credits his wife for giving him the support to do what he does best – play basketball.
The first person spoke with was my wife. I also discussed it with (Coach) Gregg Popovich and I called Julio (Lamas, head coach for Team Argentina) to give him my answer. For the first time it wasn’t an easy decision to say yes. It had nothing to do with what how I feel about the national team, that’s beyond any doubts. It also has nothing to do with patriotism, I also don’t think sports had anything to do with it. It’s just difficult to give up my vacations because I have three kids. The real reason I’ll play is because my wife supported my decision. She was amazing with the kids, especially during the postseason, when I’m not around like most times.
I know she’s giving an effort bigger than mine and I appreciate that a lot. It’s not easy to be away from the twins and Luca when this is the time to catch up with them. I don’t make decisions alone, this involved family. The kids sometimes don’t understand why I’m not around as much, maybe when they’re older they’ll understand.
Manu went on to speak about how important it is for him to appreciate every opportunity to play for his home country.
I play for the national team because what we have is wonderful, what we accomplished all these years, how we feel about it, the experiences we collect and I didn’t want to miss any of it. I didn’t like the thought of watching my teammates on TV and not being there. Plus, I felt my time with the team wasn’t over.
When I had to put everything in balance, the commitment with my teammates and fun I have with them, it was the deciding factor. Perhaps when I’m 50 years old I’ll remember tons moments of my career. The one I just experienced with San Antonio will definitely be one of the most important ones. The Olympics Games will be there too. But every time I played with the national team it was valuable experience. Even when we lost.
After Manu announced he will be suiting up for Team Argentina, many Spurs fans grumbled, feeling he should be taking the summer away from the court, resting for the upcoming NBA season to help the Spurs defend their title.
Some Spurs fans even feel he isn’t showing loyalty to San Antonio considering the team will need him if they want any chance at repeating. Something the franchise has never done despite winning five NBA crowns.
But the allure of representing his home country is strong.
Yes he is 36 years old and has many miles on his legs but helping Argentina qualify for the upcoming Olympic games means a lot to Manu. He even considers his gold medal heads above his NBA championships.
You can’t fault Ginobili. This means a lot to him.
Coach Popovich will manage his minutes next season and ensure he is raring to go come the postseason.
As of now, there’s no amount of kicking and screaming Spurs fans can do anymore. Manu’s decision has been made.
All Spurs fans can do is support his decision and chant “Go Argentina Go!”