Michael Jordan might be the greatest player of all time, but I’d rank Manu Ginobili as the most fearless guy on an NBA court ever.
The Argentine legend was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the 57th pick in the 1999 NBA draft. He was stashed overseas for 2 years when Manu made his mark on European basketball in incredible fashion.
Ginobili led Kinder Bologna to one of their 2 EuroLeague championship appearances in franchise history. He won Finals MVP for the tournament in 2001 and came over from across the Atlantic a year later.
As soon as he entered the league, Ginobili was marked out as a special talent on both ends. He played with a vitality, an urgency that newer fans normally associate with the likes of Russell Westbrook and Ja Morant.
Ginobili’s addition to the Spurs’ roster proved to be huge as they beat the Lakers in the 2003 playoffs. They ended up taking the championship home in 6 games against the New Jersey Nets that year.
Ginobili would lead Argentina on a fairytale gold medal run a year later in the Athens Olympics. This cemented his reputation as a big-game player forever.
Manu retired from the NBA in 2018 after spending 22 years in professional basketball. He’s commonly considered the greatest 6th man of the 21st century – though Jamal Crawford and Lou Williams might have something to say about that.
Manu Ginobili swatted a bat with his bare hands on Halloween
Many fans will remember Manu’s characteristic flair on the court, his beautiful Eurostep moves and the like. But there’s one incident from his career that has gone a bit under the radar.
This does not include a basketball-related feat for the Argentine legend. It’s got everything to do with Halloween and what he did on a basketball court, though.
The San Antonio Spurs were playing the Sacramento Kings at home on Halloween 2009. The Kings set off on a fast break and scored when a bat was found swooping down onto the court.
Play was instantly stopped at the time as organizers looked to find safe means to try and catch the bat. Players began moving off the court, afraid of getting bitten by a possibly rabid bat. But Manu Ginobili seemed to be cut from a different cloth.
The Argentine legend held his ground, and with one fell swoop of his right hand, caught hold of the bat. It fell to the court before Manu Ginobili picked it up and handed it over to the arena authorities.
Any time that a bat is now found in an NBA arena, fans are liable to scream Manu’s name out.