Manu Ginobili knew retiring from the NBA after over 20 years of playing wasn't going to be easy. But after knowing he was making the right choice, he finally was able to talk to the media about how he came to the decision to call it a career.
Ginobili spoke to reporters recently about his decision to leave the NBA and said, "I'm telling you, it wasn't an easy decision." He told ESPN.com's Michael C. Wright that after 23 years of playing in the NBA, it was hard to "put the last nail in that coffin." Because it was such a difficult thing to do and was hard to come to terms with, he needed time to process things before speaking publicly about his decision.
Even though Ginobili said leaving the game was hard, it wasn't a decision he didn't see coming. In fact, he says he played all of the 2017-18 season under the assumption that he would retire when the season came to a close. "Every place I went, every situation, I kind of knew it was going to be the last one. But I left the door open, just in case."
But, that "just in case " never came. While Ginobili has been a star in the NBA for years, won four NBA titles and was named an All-Star twice in 16 seasons from 2002-18. — not to mention, was one of the NBA's greatest sixth-men ever to play the game — he slowly began to realize there was no going back. His body wasn't going to withstand another full season and he left everything he had to give on the court when the Spurs season ended.
Reaffirming his decision, when other players on the Spurs were coming to summer camp excited and ready to roll, and Ginobili had nowhere near that level of enthusiasm, he knew he was finished as an active player.
Despite not having Ginobili on the court, the Spurs will still have him in some capacity. Short of playing in games, Ginobili has offered to help the team in any way he can this season. Like Tim Duncan before him, the Spurs will likely use Ginobili's many years of NBA experience to help motivate the team and provide coaching and consulting assistance.