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Gregg Popovich On Why Manu Ginobili Returned To The Spurs As An Executive: "His Wife Needed Him Gone"

Gregg Popovich On Why Manu Ginobili Returned To The Spurs As An Executive: "His Wife Needed Him Gone"

3 years after retiring as a player, Manu Ginobili is back with the San Antonio Spurs. Ginobili has returned to the Spurs organization as a special advisor to basketball operations, thus beginning his career as a future executive in the NBA.

Ginobili was by no means expected to become a star in the league. He was a late 2nd round draft pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, going 57th overall. 

But within a few years, he began to show his incredible value for the franchise. He joined San Antonio for the 2002-03 season, where they won the NBA championship, and Manu played a big part during the playoffs.

By the 2004-05 season, Ginobili became an All-Star for the first time in his career. And he was one of the most crucial performers for the Spurs during their playoff run, one that ended with them winning the NBA championship. In fact, Ginobili was even a contender to win Finals MVP, before the award was given to Tim Duncan.

By 2007, Manu had established himself as a future hall of fame, with 3 NBA championships (the 3rd coming in 2007). But he would go on to have the best season of his career in 2008 when he won the NBA Sixth Man Of The Year award and made it to the All-NBA 3rd team.

Ginobili would win yet another NBA championship with the Spurs in 2014 and would play for a few more years before retiring in 2018. His jersey was retired by the Spurs in 2019 and hangs in the rafters of the AT&T Center alongside Tim Duncan and Tony Parker's jerseys.

But why did Ginobili return to the Spurs in this role? Gregg Popovich had a hilarious answer to this question during the San Antonio Spurs media day. When asked about Ginobili's return, Pop simply said that Manu's wife wanted some time away from him.

Manu's return to the Spurs, even in this role, will bring a feel-good factor to the franchise going forward. After Tim Duncan stepped down as assistant coach last season, the Spurs franchise were without the 'Big 3' in any capacity.

As for what his role as special advisor entails, there isn't too much clarity surrounding that. Popovich said that Manu would do 'a little bit of everything' in his role, but didn't get into any specifics. As time goes on, Ginobili will get accustomed to his role.