Manu Ginobili in the Hall of Fame
Last week I posted something about ESPN.com’s David Thorpe and his post over at the mothership about Manu Ginobili. Thorpe breaks down Ginobili’s game in the type of detail you don’t find in many mainstream internet destinations. While the idea of his piece is anointing the Thunder’s James Harden as the next Ginobili in terms of style of play, the majority of Thorpe’s words are dedicated to appreciating all the traits and skills Ginobili has blessed the American game with.
But there’s one sentence in there that I noticed on my first read of Thorpe’s post, but neglected to mention in my own. Don’t let that diminish its importance, however.
And yet, Ginobili owns three NBA titles, an Olympic gold medal and a headlock on being a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee.
Interesting, no? There’s long been discussion about Manu’s Hall of Fame worthiness. And with that, I think there are two different camps. The are the hardcore basketball, detail-oriented camps on one end. And on the other are the more casual fans. The hardcore guys, folks like Thorpe, can appreciate the subtlety to Manu’s game. They can pinpoint the things he does to control, alter and win games. The casual fans are the ones who watch every fifth or sixth game, get most of their news from highlight shows and take too much stock in box scores.
I expect that if you ask a lot of the hardcores, you get similar opinions to that of Thorpe. Not only is Manu Ginobili a Hall of Famer, he’s going in the first chance he gets. And not just as a contributor. If I posed whether or not Manu gets into the Hall of Fame to Gregg Popovich before a game, I would expect to get laughed at and have Pop’s opinion of my basketball sense lowered. Same for if I asked any other coach in the NBA.
Manu Ginobili is a special type of player that doesn’t come around often. He gets more from his physical and mental abilities than most players who’ve made it to the NBA level. Ginobili was fortunate to land in a system and organization that didn’t try to change was he was or put too much pressure on him, instead they let him grow naturally into the team and adapted all the special things that he does to the team. Ginobili eventually making the Hall of Fame may have as much to do with where he ended up as with what he did once he got there.
We’re the lucky ones for having watched both sides grow together.