SAN ANTONIO - Manu Ginobili has no regrets about his decision to retire, but he says he will miss the game he loved to play and his teammates, coaches and staff with the Spurs organization.
For the first time since he announced his retirement on social media, Ginobili spoke to the media on Saturday morning about his decision to call it a career after 23 professional seasons, 16 of those with the Spurs that included four NBA championships.
He said he wanted to take some time before making any public comments, knowing he was emotional and the decision was still fresh in his mind
"Even though I am very sure about my decision, it's still awkward, it's still tough," Ginobili said. "You are convinced about what you want to do, but my finger shook a lot before hitting enter," Ginobili said, referring to his post. "It was not an easy decision."
Ginobili said he went through the same thought process he had in previous years whether he would return for another season.
He traveled with his family this summer and was already leaning toward retirement, but he did not want to make anything official until he returned to San Antonio.
He began training for another year and saw the younger players, felt he was far behind where he wanted to be as a player and realized he was ready to retire.
When it came to speaking with head coach Gregg Popovich, Ginobili said the only coach he's known in his NBA career knew that Ginobili was ready to retire.
"Once I came back, I was very convinced and I guess he saw it right away," Ginobili said. "He respected my decision, of course, and we had a great talk."
Some opening remarks from Manu Ginobilis press conference today at #Spurs practice facility...says he’s sure of his decision to retire, but joked his finger shaked a lot before he posted his announcement, said it wasn’t an easy decision. 16 years, 4 titles w/SA #ksatsports #NBA pic.twitter.com/ndDHx1Nj4l — RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) September 15, 2018
In classic Ginobili fashion, he shared that his older son, Nico, did not want him to retire for a humorous reason.
“I don’t want you to retire, dad," Ginobili said quoting his son. He then asked his son why? "Well, the chicken tenders in the family room are awesome," Ginobili said he replied. "Nah, I’ll get you some chicken tenders in a different situation, but that can’t be the reason why I stay.”
WATCH: Manu Ginobili on the funny reason why his oldest son Nico did not want him to retire..."Well, the chicken tenders in the family room are awesome." Manu also shares more insight into what led to his decision. (via @markmendez) #Spurs #KSATnews #KSATsports #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/noYb9S7UkK — RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) September 15, 2018
Ginobili said it was impossible to pinpoint his best moment as a Spur but said he has memorable moments from different stages in his career.
He said the Spurs 2014 championship stood out because of what it meant for the team to rally after a devastating loss in the NBA Finals the year before.
"The 2014 championship was outstanding, emotional," Ginobili said. “I was carrying a very heavy load in my bag for what happened the year before.”
“Being able to leave that aside, feel like I helped the team to accomplish that goal was huge," Ginobili said. "A very important moment in my career.”
Now that Ginobili is officially retired, the Spurs icon said he's excited about the uncertainty of his future and ready to spend time in his native Argentina during the country's summer season, something he has not been able to do for close to 20 years due to the NBA's scheduling in December.
Ginobili said he will continue to spend time in San Antonio and help the team in any way possible, but his days as a player are officially over.
In an ironic twist, one of the most unpredictable and exciting Spurs players in franchise history said he will be happy being predictable in retirement.
"I am very convinced and happy about the decision, being able to do other things, spend more time with family, being a little bit more predictable, knowing when I am going to be around," Ginobili said. "I'm very excited, seems fun."
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