After the Golden State Warriors completed a sweep of the San Antonio Spurs, one question lingered.
Will Manu Ginobili retire, or will he stay to play for one more season?
At 39 years, he is the second oldest player in the NBA and from the looks of it after San Antonio were battered by the Warriors, he is set to hang up his jersey.
The man wearing the No. 20 shirt has been an iconic figure in Spurs lore, that is why after GSW wrapped up the West Finals series with yet another emphatic win in Game 4, all eyes were on Manu.
He was given an ovation, showered with cheers from the home crowd and most of all respect from players of both teams in a gesture worth relishing.
It was a fitting sendoff by all means. That could be his last playing day at the AT&T Center, itself an iconic venue where plenty of Manu’s greatest wins, and losses, dotted his sterling career.
After 15 years, and after that Spurs debacle, talks swirled he is all set to announce his retirement in the league.
Perhaps one tell-tale sign he is calling it quits was when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich put the veteran in the starting lineup for the first time this season.
Ginobili returned the favour by scoring 15 points, dishing out seven assists and displaying some vintage moves that had the crowd chanting “Manu, Manu’’ all game long.
He got all the love, and more, he deserves as cheers continued when he left the court.
As Popovich pointed out, it was out of respect that he started Manu, and not to miss giving him the honour in front of the adoring Spurs fans.
Summing it all up, Popobich said: “He deserves to have that night of respect to feel we appreciate everything he has done over the years.’’
Ginobili was drafted by San Antonio in 1999, and did showed up in the radar of the league until the 2002-03 campaign.
He made waves quickly with his left-handed play-making wizardry, and yes, he has plenty of hair back then.
A four-time NBA champion and two-time All-Star, Ginobili willingly accepted a sixth-man role even though he is a phenomenal player, an attribute that made him a sporting hero in his native Argentina, whom he helped win the Olympic basketball gold medal in 2004.
So as the eventually bowed to the Warriors, Ginobili has everybody wondering whether he is going to retire, or see action for another season.
Manu is several years beyond his prime, but with the way he played against the Warriors, he showed he still packs a wallop and can remain a valuable player.
Yes, he can still perform at high level and we think everybody agrees.
He said he will think about his decision in three weeks’ time, talk to his wife about it and make an announcement.
Manu have two options – to keep playing in the NBA at his age or stay home to enjoy time with his family.
One thing is sure though. Whatever he chooses, Manu said he will be happy.