Manu Ginobili was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the 1999 draft. The lefty made his NBA debut during the 2002-03 season and established himself as one of the top international players of all time.
If it wasn’t for luck, though, and God protecting him, Ginobili may have never carved out a Hall of Fame career.
Manu Ginobili won four NBA titles with the Spurs
Manu Ginobili spent his entire NBA career with the Spurs. In 1,057 regular-season games, he averaged 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists while shooting 44.7% from the field, 36.9% from beyond the arc, and 82.7% from the free-throw line.
A two-time All-Star, Ginobili won the 2007-08 Sixth Man of the Year Award. He captured four championships with the Spurs and developed a lifelong bond with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Gregg Popovich.
The Spurs retired Ginobili’s No. 20 jersey. The future Hall of Famer is fifth in franchise history in win shares, third in games played, fifth in field goals, first in 3-pointers, fourth in assists, first in steals, and fifth in points.
In 218 playoff games, Ginobili put up 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. He won his four championships in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014.
In 2004, Manu Ginobili led Argentina to the gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Athens. He also got married and went on his honeymoon. It was on that vacation where the world almost lost Argentina’s Flying Man.
Manu Ginobili almost died in 2004
During an interview with ex-Spur Fabricio Oberto’s show “DTMB con Fabricio Oberto,” Manu Ginobili revealed he almost died in 2004.
On his honeymoon, Ginobili was involved in a near-fatal car accident that could have ended his life.
“In 2004, during my honeymoon, I got a car in the front of me that passed a truck on a curve,” Ginobili said, via Jeff Garcia of Spurs Zone. “I threw myself on the shoulder and began to skid. I could have killed someone. I could have slammed against a tree. I could fallen on a cliff or hit the driver head-on. There would have been no Olympic games. There was no more career. It was a flip of the coin in the air. Luck.”
This is a scary story. Ever since LA Lakers icon Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash in January of 2020, everyone in the sports world has realized how precious life is. Thankfully, Ginobili and his wife weren’t killed in 2004, allowing Manu to have a decorated career with the Spurs.
He was never a superstar in the NBA, but Manu Ginobili was as versatile as a player there has ever been in league history. He proved that you don’t have to be the fastest or strongest player to impact the game. Ginobili used his high IQ and craftiness to dominate his opponents.
The Timberwolves requested El Contusione’s services recently
In 2009, Manu Ginobili swatted a bat with his hands. The game between the Spurs and Sacramento Kings was paused since the bat was flying around the court. That’s when Ginobili–a.k.a. El Contusione–saved the day.
The Minnesota Timberwolves recently had a bat inside their stadium. They requested Ginobili’s services since he’s the only player brave enough to catch a bat with his hands.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.