Leo Messi is a living legend of the sport, even more so in Argentina where he is from. However, even he could only get on his knees against a fellow NBA player a few years ago. The latter has just received the greatest tribute to the US.
Given his accomplishments in 16 seasons for San Antonio, it was only a matter of time before Manu Ginobili was inducted into the Hall of Fame. It has now been done for a few hours, the Argentine being officially a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Ohio. Accompanied on stage by his ex-teammate Tim Duncan, he was obviously entitled to thunderous applause:
From Argentina to San Antonio to Springfield
Manu Ginobili enters the Basketball Hall of Fame 🤍🖤pic.twitter.com/45bOkSxFSW
—ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 11, 2022
It’s only deserved for the former guard, who is still considered one of the best Sixth Men of all time, enough to allow him to form a legendary Big Three with TD and Tony Parker at Spurs. Together, they won no less than four championship rings between 2003 and 2014. But El Manu did not only shine in the NBA, he was also fundamental to his national team.
Indeed, he allowed it to seek the ultimate coronation in 2004, by winning the Olympic Games in Athens with him at the helm. This obviously earned him the undying respect of many big names in Argentine sport, and not just in basketball. Leo Messi, for example, is one of his most ardent admirers, as he showed when the No. 20 retired in 2018. The football superstar posted the following message on Facebook, practically deifying the Gaucho:
Leo Messi: ‘I am the Manu Ginobili of football’
“It makes me very proud to hear a journalist say that ‘Manu is the Messi of basketball’, in fact they should say that I am the Manu of football.”
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) September 11, 2022
Thank you Manu, for making us love basketball so much. It won’t be the same without you on the floor. I know NBA players chose number 10 in my honor and that’s a special feeling. Just like hearing players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Kobe Bryant pay tribute to me. But nothing touched me as much as seeing Manu Ginobili coming to support me after the 2011 Copa America. That a man like him, of his level, supporting me means a lot to me. It’s always a source of pride when I hear that Manu is the Messi of basketball. In truth, they should rather say that I am the Manu of football.
Ultra-spectacular with his crazy technical gestures and known to be a huge winner, Manu Ginobili undoubtedly deserves his place among the sacred monsters of the NBA. No wonder either that he marked Leo Messi so much, for whom there is no greater honor than being compared to the former San Antonio.