Manu Ginobili retirement signals end to an era

San Antonio Spurs star, Manu Ginobili departs from a basketball career that helped shape one of the most dominant runs in pro sports history.

Manu Ginobili was one of the final pieces remaining in the San Antonio Spurs dynasty that had them appearing in 21 consecutive NBA Playoffs. That streak included an unprecedented 18 consecutive 50-win seasons (1998-1999 season was shortened and 50 would have been impossible).

Coach Gregg Popovich remains for the time being, but the legendary Spurs players have now all moved on. One of the winningest trios in sports, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker will be remembered as basketball legends.

David "The Admiral" Robinson's protege, big man Tim Duncan retired two years ago. Earlier this summer, Tony Parker left the Spurs to go to the Charlotte Hornets, though he has vocalized his desire to retire a Spur one way or another. A few days ago, Manu Ginobili announced his retirement via Twitter.

Ginobili's career is incredibly impressive, especially considering that he spent his NBA tenure coming off of the bench. Scoring in bunches, scrappy defense, and creative playmaking defined the Argentinian's unorthodox style. He very well may have been the player that first introduced the euro-step to the league.

He could easily be written off as a folk hero in San Antonio. Actually, he is a four time NBA Champion, a NBA Sixth Man of the Year, two-time NBA All-Star, a Euroleague Champion, and Olympic gold medalist from 2004 when Argentina beat Team USA. That resume has Basketball Hall of Fame potential.

The departure of Kawhi Leonard this Summer means that Coach Pop and Patty Mills are the only Spurs champions left standing. With DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge still in place, they will still have a chance to make yet another playoff push.

However, there will be something missing when you tune into a Spurs game going forward. The sustained greatness that was supplied by Ginobili & Co. may waiver, but Popovich will certainly make sure that the signature cool-as-ice play and smooth ball movement will carry on. Good luck to Manu in retirement and thanks for what you gave the world of basketball!