San Antonio Spurs legend Manu Ginobili retires from the NBA after sixteen seasons with the one team

Manu Ginobili has played his final game, and with that a new era awaits the San Antonio Spurs.

Ginobili announced his decision to retire Monday, the 41-year-old wrapping up what he called a "fabulous journey" in which he helped the Spurs win four NBA championships in 16 seasons with the club.

The smooth left-handed guard from Argentina came to San Antonio in 2002, forming what quickly became a powerful "Big 3" alongside Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. Now, they've all moved on: Duncan retired two years ago, Parker left San Antonio earlier this summer as a free agent to sign with the Charlotte Hornets, and Ginobili has worn Spurs colours for the last time as well.

"Today, with a wide range of feelings, I'm announcing my retirement from basketball," Ginobili wrote on Twitter in making the announcement. "IMMENSE GRATITUDE to everyone (family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, fans) involved in my life in the last 23 years. It's been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams."

The image Ginobili chose to accompany that tweet: A photo of him walking off the floor, away from the camera, with four fingers aloft - signifying his four titles.

"An NBA champion and All-Star, Manu Ginobili is also a pioneer who helped globalize the NBA," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. "He is one of basketball's greatest ambassadors who believes in the power of sports to change lives. And for 16 years, we were fortunate to watch a legend compete at the highest level. Thank you, Manu, for a career that inspired millions of people around the world."

Ginobili's pro career lasted 23 seasons in all, starting with stints in Italy and Argentina. His drawing power was massive even in his final season, and it was common for him to spend plenty of time before road games posing for photos and signing autographs - often international fans proudly displaying an Argentine flag.

"A role model for all of us that love this wonderful sport," Spurs forward Pau Gasol said.

Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard were the backbone of San Antonio's drive to its most recent NBA championship in 2014, and this will be the first time that Gregg Popovich begins a season as the Spurs' head coach with none of those players on the roster. Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan earlier this summer, the end of a relationship in San Antonio that had apparently gone too sour to save.

Leonard's departure meant Ginobili would have been the last significant player tied to the Spurs' title years. But in the end, retirement was his call.

"Great player. Fierce competitor. Winner," Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki said on Twitter. "Next stop: HOF."

Indeed, getting enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame would seem like a certainty for Ginobili. The No. 57 pick in the 1999 draft, Ginobili averaged 13.3 points and 3.8 assists in 1,057 regular-season games. He was a two-time All-Star and was the league's Sixth Man of the Year for the 2007-08 season (getting 123 of 124 votes), plus he teamed with Popovich for 135 playoff wins - the third-highest total for any player-coach combo in NBA history.

The only two with more? Popovich and Duncan won 157, and Popovich and Parker won 137.

"Thanks for all you did for the game gramps," Spurs forward Rudy Gay tweeted, poking fun at Ginobili's age. Gay's sentiment was shared by many in the NBA, and the Spurs quickly put up a page of on- and off-the-court highlights that bore the simplest of messages: "Gracias, Manu."

Ginobili, even though he was often coming off the bench, has a resume of postseason production like almost no one else. Only two players have more than 800 rebounds, 800 assists and 300 3-pointers in their playoff careers - Ginobili and LeBron James.

"Thank you for what you have done for your fellow lefties and a bringing an unmatched level of creativity to the game," Atlanta's Kent Bazemore wrote to Ginobili in a tweet. "Much respect."

Ginobili's final game was April 24, when the Spurs were ousted from the Western Conference playoffs by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. San Antonio lost the series 4-1.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was once a teammate of Ginobili's in San Antonio. And as Golden State celebrated moving on to the second round, Kerr offered Ginobili a sales pitch.

"Keep going, OK? Why not?" Kerr told Ginobili that day at Oracle Arena as they shared an embrace. "Hey, we met Roger Federer this year in China. I said 'Why do you keep playing?' He said 'I love it.' If you love it, keep going."

Moments later, Ginobili left an NBA court as a player for the last time.

FILE - In this April 1, 2018, file photo, San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili (20) drives around Houston Rockets' Eric Gordon during the second half of an NBA basketball game, in San Antonio.  Ginobili retired at age 41 Monday after a "fabulous journey" in which he helped the San Antonio Spurs win four NBA championships in 16 seasons with the club. (AP Photo/Darren Abate, File)
Manu Ginobili. Source: Associated Press


Steven Adams takes the mickey, flexes and shows off body-building poses during media photo shoot

Oklahoma City Thunder star Steven Adams may possibly have a post-NBA modelling career, after showcasing some hilarious poses during a media photo shoot today.

The seven foot (2.13m) tall Thunder centre flexed and pulled out some body-building poses, which had cameramen and photographers laughing during his side's media day session.

During his press conference earlier today he hit reporters with some classic one-liners, answering questions about whether he would implement three-pointers to his game this season.

"Shoot a three? No, absolutely not," said Adams.

The OKC star had reporters laughing as usual after some classic one-liners during today's media day. Source: OKC Thunder

"Maybe preseason, I've got to see mate - don't want to lose my job. It's tough."

The Thunder begin their 2018/2019 NBA pre-season at home next month on October 4, against the Detroit Pistons.

The 25-year-old was on fire during today’s OKC media session. Source: Twitter/ @SneakerReporter



'Don't want to lose my job': Steven Adams dishes on three-pointers & being 'awkward Kiwi guy'

Oklahoma City Thunder star Steven Adams kept reporters entertained as per usual with his classic one liners during a press conference today.

But he refrained from revealing entirely whether he would add three-pointers to his game this season.

A reporter questioned Adams on whether he would finally attempt a three-pointer in the NBA this season, after a number of videos on social media showed the Kiwi centre sinking shots from behind the arc in training.

"Shoot a three? No, absolutely not," said Adams.

"Maybe preseason, I've got to see mate - don't want to lose my job. It's tough."

The 25-year-old went on to describe himself as an ordinary, awkward New Zealander to another reporter.

"You can just say I'm a Kiwi guy, awkward Kiwi guy, keep it simple."

The Thunder begin their 2018/2019 NBA pre-season at home next month on October 4, against the Detroit Pistons.

The OKC star had reporters laughing as usual after some classic one-liners during today's media day. Source: OKC Thunder



Basketball NZ, Tall Blacks take aim at FIBA after pinning 'ugly' win against Lebanon on tough travel schedule

Basketball New Zealand has re-ignited its call for more High Performance Sport New Zealand funding while also taking a shot at FIBA after the Tall Blacks moved to the cusp of World Cup qualification.

The Tall Blacks’ 63-60 win over Lebanon in Rotorua was marred by a poor shooting performance in which the hosts only netted 28 per cent of their attempted shots.

Both teams struggled after a marathon 43-hour travel schedule which saw the Tall Blacks leave Beirut at shortly after their 107-66 win over Syria last Friday

They arrived in Rotorua on Sunday morning at 2:30am.

Head coach Paul Henare said the draining journey reflected in the match.

"It was just a bit disappointing with the scheduling from FIBA that it had to be a grind out game," he said.

"It was never going to be pretty, it was always going to be ugly and I'm sure that's not what FIBA are trying to achieve."

Basketball NZ CEO Iain Potter says the sport’s governing body needs to look at the bigger picture.

"I don't think FIBA has fully appreciated the travel logistics to get from the Middle East to New Zealand.

"It's no surprise the players were demonstrating some mental and physical fatigue."

But the travel has also reiterated Basketball NZ's calls for more government funding.

Each window costs the organisation NZ$100,000 and this year’s series of qualifiers are particularly taking its toll, Potter said.

"We are going to run at a loss this year because of the four windows in this calendar year.

"It constrains us at times in terms of what we can do with the team."

And their case is now becoming stronger to HPSNZ.

World Cup qualification is within reach with home wins over Jordan and Syria later this year likely enough to book their ticket to China.

Both teams struggled in last night’s World Cup qualifier after clocking up 43 hours of travel earlier this week. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Lebanon falter in final seconds to Tall Blacks' desperate defence as game-winning shot misses rim completely

The Tall Blacks have claimed a miraculous 63-60 comeback win in their World Cup qualifier match against Lebanon tonight thanks to clutch free throw shooting and desperate defence.

The Tall Blacks were playing catch up for almost the entire match in Rotorua with poor shooting from the field seriously hindering their cause.

The home side shot just under 28 per cent from the field in tonight’s game – seriously behind their opponents who shot 38 per cent.

The main issue came from behind the arc with the Tall Blacks making just four of 23 three-point attempts.

It saw them fall behind to a 7-18 deficit after the first quarter, but strong plays from the Webster brothers and Shea Ili saw them claw back to sit 25-25 at halftime.

The game remained a seesaw of poor shooting until the final minute of the match with Lebanon leading 60-59.

Lebanon held possession as the clock ticked down but New Zealand’s defence forced a rare turnover as the visitors were called for travelling.

That led to big offensive play at the other end with Corey Webster putting up a two-pointer.

The shot missed but he managed to get his own rebound and dish the ball to Ili who went for a shot of his own but was fouled.

Ili remained composed at the free throw line to score both shots and give the Tall Blacks a 61-60 lead with 20 seconds left.

The defence again shut down Lebanon as they were forced into a miracle three-point shot with six seconds to go, but the shot missed the rim completely and was rebounded by Reuben Te Rangi.

Te Rangi then put the game on ice with another pair of made free throws.

After getting a late call up to the team, Corey Webster made his presence known in the match. The experienced guard finished with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists.

His efforts were matched by his brother Tai who scored 13 points along with seven rebounds, four assists and a steal.

With the win, the Tall Blacks sit top of their World Cup qualifier pool on seven wins from eight matches – one point ahead of Lebanon.

With the top three teams from each pool qualifying for the World Cup in China next year, the result boosts the Kiwi side’s chances immensely.

The Tall Blacks now have two months off before their next match when they host Jordan in Christchurch on November 29.