From his days in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, to his time with the Spurs, Ginobili had plenty to say.
Now I won’t just drop all 100 answers Ginobili gave but in the interview, he had some interesting things to say. In particular, what he had to say about his time in San Antonio, Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker and more.
On where he was the night he got drafted by San Antonio:
I was sleeping. I was with the National Team in Macapa, Brazil a place worth searching the Internet. I did not know that the draft was that night. I finished eating and went to bed. The next morning, I woke up, someone came in to tell me I was chosen by San Antonio.
His reaction to hearing the news:
“You’re crazy, get out of here.” I did not believe him. It took me sometime to realize.
On what his father said after being selected by the Spurs and presented to the media:
“If I didn’t play well, he will kick me in the butt and return me to the Bahia.” I had confidence in myself, though there were doubts as well. It’s not that I thought “I will play an All Star Game.” I went to see how the thing were, I knew other great players had been there before and failed. The first four months were complicated. I just finished recovering from an injury and was not in sync. I had doubts.
On his doubts:
That I wasn’t going to get a chance. I felt, at times, they did not believe in me, that did not show a chance to prove. And doubt to win the confidence of (Gregg) Popovich.
On the craziest thing he encountered from a fan:
Someone named their child Ginobili. Crazy. If you name the child Manu or Emanuel, well good, but he used my last name. Then I remember two others who were tattooed. One got “Ginobili” on one arm and the other tattoed my autograph. I also remember a guy in Japan ran up to me. In Japan and China bizarre things happened to me: people acted like they knew me for 20 years. Very generous: I wanted to give gifts, weird.
On if he prefers his NBA rings or Gold medals:
The 2005 NBA ring was spectacular, the way we did it, the pressure in that last game against Detroit. But an Olympic gold is unlike everything.Moreover, the context of the tournament is worth more. If you ask Kobe Bryant about his gold medal in Beijing, he will tell you he is happy and nothing else. He had to win that title, the United States had no choice. Ours in Athens, however, was very different. No one in Argentina and dreamed of a first place, ever.
His top three coaches:
First Zeta Rodríguez, from Estudiantes. After that, Ettore Messina, in Kinder and Gregg Popovich.
On Popovich off the court:
You have to know him to understand. He is phenomenal. I never thought a guy could be so strict and even irritable on the court that he will come and ask me about my parents. He is generous, caring, honest. I have a good relationship with him, even if I were to get traded the next day. I will not stop praising him. Even though I have disagreed with his decisions.
On earning Popovich’s trust:
A lot. He had a strict game plan, which was softened by little my fault. He has helped me on several occasions.
On Argentinians dislike for Tony Parker:
I can understand it because I was always the darling of the Argentines in the NBA and people wanted him to throw the ball to me in all attacks. But it is a nonsense. Imagine if a guy from Latvia who selected San Antonio in the next draft, start to play well and people in Latvia hate me because I don’t pass to him.
On which was his favorite All-Star appearance:
The first I could not believe that I was living in the environment. I do not want to feel a star, but I was at the All Star, everyone asked me about it and it was impossible not to feel tingling. It took me to get used to it. From that point, the first was special, in Denver. In Los Angeles I was relaxed and enjoy the game better.
On what he considers his worst game:
Against Cleveland, in the third game of the 2007 NBA Finals. I played terrible, I made three points and missed everything. But we won, and it went unnoticed. The final game against Indianapolis was also terrible, beyond that I was injured. I shot as if I had been playing well but didn’t add anything. I was bad for the team.