Manu Ginobili reflects on Hall of Fame Class of 2022 selection

Manu Ginobili addressed the media Saturday afternoon as his hall of fame selection became official.

Manu Ginobili was all smiles Saturday, April 2, 2022 as it became official that he would be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year. (Copyright 2022 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – It may go down as one of the worst kept secrets in basketball. Well, at least it wasn’t a surprise to any Spurs fans.

On Saturday, it became official that Manu Ginobili would be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. This was Ginobili’s first year of eligibility to be selected for induction.

“There were some conversations along the way, people were telling me it was going to happen,” Ginobili said Saturday. “I got a call on Monday from the Hall of Fame saying that I was officially voted in. Before it was all rumors and the moment you get the confirmation it’s quite special.”

During Sunday’s Spurs game against the Portland Trail Blazers, a game the Spurs won 113-92 to sweep the season series, the crowd took time to give Manu a standing ovation on his Hall of Fame announcement.

The two-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA Champion addressed the media Saturday afternoon at the AT&T Center, just after the official announcement was made at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“I’m here because of my surroundings, the players I played with, the coaches that I’ve been coached with and the organizations,” said Ginobili. “I don’t take it as an individual achievement. It’s just that I’ve been in the right place in the right time and I contribute the way I could and we all make each other better and that’s why I’m here.”

Ginobili will be inducted with 12 other honorees including five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway. He was part of the Golden State Warriors fast-paced, high-scoring offense known as “Run TMC” starting in 1989. Joining Ginobili and Hardaway will be former Spurs player and assistant coach George Karl. The former 2013 NBA Coach of the Year and four-time NBA All-Star coach is listed sixth in the NBA for career coaching wins. Karl played for the Spurs from 1973-78 and was an assistant coach to Spurs head coach Doug Moe during the 1978-80 seasons.

The 2008 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award winner shared during his press conference his first impressions of San Antonio which were the heat and not knowing exactly where the city was. Ginobili admitted he knew the Spurs had just won the NBA Finals before his selection by the team in the 1999 NBA Draft. Manu was picked up in the second round and joined the team in 2002.

He also took time to share his thoughts on playing his entire career with head coach Gregg Popovich.

“Well, the first two years were a little rough,” joked Ginobili. “It wasn’t easy to adapt to having a coach like him. We both started to respect the other one and appreciate what their true mission and goals were and why I was playing like that and why he was coaching me like that. We began to make compromises and then it became great.”

Ginobili added, “Not much was expected from a 57th pick, so I guess I got a story to tell.”

Ginobili, who had his number retired by the Spurs in 2019, also reflected on which NBA Championships held extra meaning for him. He also talked about when he finally felt he belonged with the Spurs and why he and his family decided to stay in San Antonio after he retired from the NBA after 16 seasons.

The Hall of Fame weekend will be held September 9-10 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 for over 18 years and is an award-winning producer. To submit story ideas, email dvillanueva@ksat.com


About the Authors:

Daniel P. Villanueva has been with KSAT 12 since 2003 and is the producer of our weekly sports show, "Instant Replay." Villanueva is a graduate of St. Mary's University and is a TAPB and Lone Star Emmy award winner.