San Antonio Spurs: Does Another Championship Make Manu Ginobili A Hall Of Fame Lock?


Manu Ginobili is a near-lock for the Hall of Fame. Photo Credit:

Since joining the NBA and San Antonio Spurs July 18, 2002, basketball fans in the USA know Manu Ginobili as a three-time NBA champion (2003, 2005, 2007) and catalyst to the Gregg Popovich system. The truth is he was a three-time MVP in both the Euroleague and Italian League in only three seasons prior to exiting any plane on American soil to play basketball. Does Manu Ginobili need another title to be lock for the hall? No.

The Naismith Hall of Fame has never shied away from foreign-born players. After all it is the Basketball Hall of Fame, not just NBA-specific. Ginobili, however, may be the most impressive in terms of accomplishments in the NBA and abroad. Bill Bradley is the only other player in history to win a Euroleague championship, NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal. The gold medal came in 2004 leading his native Argentina over a USA team that included LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Spurs’ teammate Tim Duncan while averaging 19 points per game–all future Hall of Famers, I may add. He went on during that 2004-05 NBA season, getting named to his first All-Star Game and winning his second of his three championship rings in a seven-game series over the defending champion Detroit Pistons.

In the 2006-07 championship season, Manu averaged 16.5 points per game, the only player that season to average more than 15 points per game while playing less than 30 minutes a game. He also set the Spurs franchise record with 24 straight points in one game that year. The Spurs never lost a game in the playoffs when he scored 20 or more that postseason.

Internationally, Ginobili has earned the respect of any Hall of Fame voter. He is first South American-born player to win the NBA Sixth Man Award and be named to the All-NBA team. Argentina has recognized Manu three times with their athlete of the year award, Clarin’s Premio Consagracion de Oro award (2002, 2004 and 2005). By competing with his national basketball team since 1998, he has won the hearts of an entire country.

There is no need for another title to validate an already Hall of Fame career.