Skip to main content

Tim Duncan On The Spurs Drafting Manu Ginobili: 'We Pick People I've Never Heard Of'

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili changed the San Antonio Spurs' history when they teamed up at the beginning of the 2000s. The trio went to win four championships with the Texans franchise, becoming big legends at the AT&T Center, leaving a huge mark on the city.

Ginobili wasn’t seen as a potential star when he landed in the NBA and his teammates let him know. Duncan wasn’t so fond of the team picking him in 1999 and he recalled the story in 2019, during Manu’s jersey retirement ceremony.

The power forward had some jokes for his teammate, telling the public at the arena how he felt when Gregg Popovich announced the Spurs were drafting Ginobili.

“I got that call from Pop. Every year I watched the draft. I’d sit at home and I’d tell everybody all day long, ‘I’m not watching the draft, I’m not gonna do this,'” Duncan said. “I sit at home, I watch the draft and we pick people that I’ve never heard of. Sitting there … Emanuel Gee-no-bee-lee (audience laughs).

“Who did we just pick?

“Oh yeah, he’s gonna be great, he’s this, he’s that.”

“Okay Pop, whatever.”

Ginobili would retire after 16 seasons with the Spurs, becoming one of the greatest sixth men in NBA history, winning 4 NBA titles, making rivals go crazy and even his own head coach and teammates. He was just different and everybody appreciated him.

TD had jokes for him that day but things were pretty serious for him the first time he heard the name of the Argentine player, which he couldn’t even say properly at the time. This is why the Spurs Big 3 was so successful. They had that chemistry on and off the court that led him to win meaningful things in the association.