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!

Perspective: Erin Popovich passes away at 67

Greg Popovich's wife, Erin passed away Wednesday after battling an illness for a long time according to ESPN.

The head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Greg Popovich has been a key figure in the NBA for a long time. The news of the passing of his wife, Erin is a tough blow to the basketball community. Gregg and Erin Popovich had been married for over 40 years, had two children, and two grandchildren. The couple met while Coach Pop was an assistant coach at the Air Force Academy. 

As devastating as it must be to the Popovich family, it also serves a reminder of what it truly important.

The game seems insignificant in the face of such real-life tragedy. However, the fraternity created by basketball can be a tremendous source of support and family. Stars such as Kevin Durant and LeBron James both used the term "family" when presented with the news of Erin's passing.

This is not enjoyable news to deliver, but we hope that it brings about feelings of appreciation for the people and things that we have. Gregg Popovich has been a polarizing figure of late, becoming more bold with political statements and always firing off sarcasm and wit. No-matter your stance on him, this is a tragedy that must be respected. 

ESPN staff writer, Michael C. Wright reported the following quote from the Spurs General Manager.

We’re all suffering a profound loss to a really important member of our family and our team. Erin and Gregg were best friends who were together for 40 years, and Erin’s impact and influence on our organization, on our families, on our players and their families will be felt for years to come. I spoke to Pop this morning. He’s overwhelmed by the support. He’s very appreciative of the love that’s been shared with our group, and with him and his family and Erin’s family. As you’d expect from Pop, he wants our focus to be about the game today, about this series, and that’s what today will be about. We’ll miss Erin a lot, and the focus of our team will be on supporting Pop. But we’ve got basketball to get back to
— Spus G.M., R.C. Buford

The Basketball Movement's thoughts are with the Popovich family and the Spurs organization in this difficult time. Coach Pop will of course miss game 3 of the first round series with the Golden State Warriors (GSW leads 2-0).

To the fan: Basketball is just a game

A Cleveland Cavaliers fan was recently banned from Quicken Loans Arena for shouting racial slurs.

At its core, basketball is a game. One team tries to get the ball in their opponent's goal, while simultaneously trying to prevent their opponent from scoring in their own goal. There are nuances and rules, but at the base level, it is beautifully simple.

This is how fans should view the sport. It is fun to watch, simple to understand, and filled with players and teams to root for.

To a player, basketball can be more than just a game. Basketball can be an escape, a safe place, and a way of life. Even to a player though, it is at its core a really, really fun game.

Fans can get competitive too, sometimes more than they should. Rooting for your team is encouraged; rooting against your rivals is even alright. However, fans have to know where to draw the line.

Lines were crossed at a Cleveland Cavaliers game

Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs went to the line in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game and was met by jeering from an opposing fan. After an investigation by the Cavs, the racial taunting earned the fan a indefinite ban from the arena (to be reviewed after a year's time).

They found him? Wow. Yeah, it’s great that things like that are not happening again. If not, we’d be very hypocritical. ... It can’t be allowed. So it’s great that it happened. I don’t know how they found him, but it’s awesome.
— Mills' Spurs teammate, Manu Ginobili

Sports fans (and parents) are notorious for heckling other human beings. Unfortunately, competitiveness can get the better of decent people, but also can show an individual's true colors.

Players - basketball can be more than a game, so keep honing your craft and as LeBron James likes to say, "strive for greatness". Fans - remember that players are real people and are not machines built for your entertainment. Keep it classy and never shout at a player something you would not have the nerve to say right to their face.

Keep reading about all things hoops right here at The Basketball Movement blog.