When the Spurs made the decision to sign Argentina’s Manu Ginobili in the 1999 draft, they were not so much aware that they had made one of the biggest decisions that would change the team’s history forever. Although it took Ginobili until the 2002/2003 season to adapt to the way things are done at the Spurs and in the NBA after several injuries, he became one of the greatest players in the history of the Spurs after this adaptation.
It is on record that Manu has the best plus-minus per 100 possession of a ball of anyone who has played at least 20,000 minutes since 2000. It is also on record that he is the other player next to him, Bill Bradley, who has ever won a European title, an NBA title, and an Olympic gold medal.
Here is the story of the man many consider Michael Jordan of Argentina.
His full name is Emmanuel David Manu Ginobili and he was born in Bahia on 28 June 1977. He is the youngest of his parents’ three children – Jorge and Raquel Ginobili – and was born in Bahia on June 28, 1977. His family is one that has produced professional basketball players. You wouldn’t be wrong to say that the game is in his blood, starting with his father.
Manu’s father was a well-known basketball coach, he coached a club in Bahia Blanca. Two of Ginobili’s brothers, Sebastian and Leandro, were basketball players – Sebastian played in the Spanish second division league Espanola de Baloncesto and also in the Argentinian local league, while his brother Leandro played in the Argentinian basketball league for seven years and retired in 2003.
So Ginobili grew up with a love of basketball, but who in his position wouldn’t? When did you see that the whole family is in love with the game? Manu named the popular and successful US basketball player of the 1980s and 90s, Michael Jordan, as his most important influence on the game.
He began playing as a professional in the team of the Andino Sports Club La Rioja, of which he was a member from 1995-1996. He later moved to Estudiantes de Bahía Blanca, where he remained until 1998. He then went to Italy, where he joined the Italian basketball team Basket Viola Reggio Calabria and in 1999 he was promoted to the Italian 1st division.
Luckily for him, the San Antonio Spurs chose him in 1999 in the NBA draft at the 57th overall selection in the second round. In the 2002/2003 NBA season, however, he officially joined the Spurs basketball team but was unable to adapt quickly to the NBA game system as he kept coming back into and out of the game due to several injuries.
Manu Ginobili soon became a man to watch on the Spurs team, as he kept the team constantly at the peak of success and won most of his games. He also won so many awards almost every season. One of these awards was the “Olimpia de Oro”, i.e. “Golden Olympia”, the title of Argentinean Sportsman of the Year – this award brought him ahead of the then Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, and a sports center was also inaugurated in his birthplace, Bahia Blanca, in honor of Ginobili.
In the history of the NBA, Ginobili is celebrated as the only basketball player to have played several 20-point games from the bench, and alongside Michael Jordan, he is credited with being the only basketball player to have scored more than 15 points in back-to-back games. He has spent most of his career with the Spurs basketball team, having renewed his contract with the team every season, most recently on 24 August 2017.
Ginobili, as a member of the Argentine senior national team, made his senior national team debut in Athens at the 1998 Fiba World Championship and also won a silver medal at the 2002 Fiba World Championship. He was the Argentinean flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. He also played with his Argentinean team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and 2016 in Rio.
Other awards he has won include the Diamond Konex Award 2010 for Most Valuable Italian Cup Player in 2002, the most important sportsman of the decade in Argentina with the Diamond Konex Award 2010, twice MVP of the Italian League in 2001 and 2002, Most Valuable Player of the EuroLeague Final in 2001, Most Valuable Player of the FIBA AmeriCup also in 2001, twice NBA All-Star in 2005 and 2011.
He also won the following titles: three-time crown winner 2001, Italian league champion 2001, two-time Italian cup winner 2001 and 2002, and many others.
Manu is multilingual, as he is fluent in English, Italian, and Spanish. He loves Latin American music, traveling, and movies. He has dual citizenship in Argentina and Italy.
Manu Ginobili’s Family – Wife & Kids
Manu is happily married to a beautiful Argentinean woman named Marianela Orono, and they have been married since 2004. They reportedly met in 1997 when Ginobili was still playing in Argentina.
Together the couple has three children – twin boys Dante and Nicola, who welcomed them in May 2010, and Luca, who arrived four years later in April 2014. The family lives in San Francisco.
The couple is so happy together and has stayed away from scandals and divorce rumors in their marriage for over a decade.
Ginobili revealed in an interview that his wife supported him and that the brains behind his extensive career with the Spurs are: “She is always very helpful and has extended my career”.
Together they founded the Manu Ginobili Foundation in 2006. The foundation is Manu’s way of giving something back to society, and its goal is to help children in Argentina.
Ginobili’s net assets are estimated at $45 million, and his salary was estimated at $14 million per year.
The exceptional footballer stands at a height of 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) and weighs 93 kg (205 lb).