The story of “Little Finger” and Giant Gondo: Two silent facts that propelled Manu Ginobili to the NBA

Manu at Estudiantes de Bahía Blanca, the stage that served as a break and began to bring him closer to the NBA (Photo: manuginobili)

September 10, 2022 will not be another date for Argentine sports. It will be the end of the stage. At least one of the many endings. Emmanuel Ginobili You will get one of the most transcendental differences for a basketball player: It will be entered into the NBA Hall of Fame Thanks to what he has done throughout his career, primarily with the clothes of the San Antonio Spurs and the Argentine national team. But to understand the ending, it is always interesting to know a little about the beginning. The path that drove him to what – at the time – was impossible: to get into the top league.

When the term “NBA” was almost forbidden in the dreams of Argentine players, there was an athlete with a keen eye to discover the full potential of the manu: Grant GunderzykAmerican Giant gondo. “Grant was an ex-NBA player, 1.96-meter striker, very strong, very handsome, very difficult to play. This boy, who was not at all stupid and had a lot of experience in international basketball and in the NBA, was also beginning to realize that The kids on that team were serious and important things, especially Manuel. He began to insist that Manu go to American college. He said that if Manu had the chance to get in there, he would open the doors to something very important. And he began to insist a lot on it. On top of that, Grant was heavy! Infobae A few years ago zeta Rodriguez, coach of Estudiantes de Bahia Blanca at the time Ginobili and Gondriguez lived together.

He never forgot that message. “Gondo for being a great teacher and the first to see me in the future in the NBA”Ginóbili himself is notable in his account of Instagram A few hours ago in a series of posts in which he thanked everyone who allowed him to climb to the top before receiving the Hall of Fame Medal.

Mano and Scola in the Argentine youth team during 1996
Mano and Scola in the Argentine youth team during 1996

gondo He came to the country to face his last athletic strides after being selected by the Phoenix Suns in the 1986 draft and facing a residency at the Los Angeles Clippers only to later see his career dwindle between less valuable teams in the United States, some European Championships, and some scandal. He made 16 appearances at Estudiantes con los Ginobili – and he was also Toad On that campus – but it was enough to set it on fire manu. It became the first impulse towards the United States.

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“There were traces or things that suggested that I could become a very good player in the National League, but nothing more. The next year I came back to Bahía Blanca. There is an important moment in that year, which is talking to a foreigner who played with me and was in the league. NBA for two or three years. Lee sat down and said: “You have to go to the United States to study at a university in the United States, and if you go and spend four years there, you end up in the NBA.”. I looked at him like he’s saying ‘impossible’, he wants to be my friend or something, and he’s asking me to motivate me or make me feel better.” manu in gallery Ted About this conversation with Gondrizyk, who marked him with fire.

Gondo was young in Argentina, but he was a key to Manu
Gondo was young in Argentina, but he was a key to Manu

It activates the internal fibers in the Argentine head. It was the first line in the National Basketball Association’s Golden Book. The events are intertwined. During the same time, without Ginobili himself knowing, the NBA wrote his name for the first time. In August 1997, Julio Lamas called him up to compete in the Under-22 World Cup in Australia, although his character was under the shadow of other titles with greater potential such as Lucas Victoriano, Fabricio Oberto, Juan Ignacio Sanchez and Leandro Palladino. But RC Buford He had the ability to discover the potential of that young boy who played for Estudiantes de Bahía Blanca in the Argentine National League.

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“He came to talk to me in Melbourne at the locker room door and we arranged to meet to speak at the hotel. I thought it was someone else who came to ask about Victoriano, Uberto, baby Sanchez and Paladino… Who do you want to ask me about? “Lamas questioned him, who was the driver of that team that finished fourth after losing to Yugoslavia. The important Tottenham manager stared at him, showed his little finger and only said: “For the skinny.”. It was Manuel.

“He was the first to ask me about Manu. He asked if I could follow him. I directed the team and followed Victoriano, Ginobili and Uberto on their behalf. This was between 1997 and 1999, until it was drafted. I understand that when Mano went to Kinder Bologna, he was followed directly by Buford through Ettore Messina (the coach of the Italian team),” Lamas explained years ago to Infobae.

Julio Lamas talks about how Manu Ginobili got into the NBA

The next franchise of the Texas series was wide: “In the first stage they focused on their physical and technical abilities. When they learned that they had a high standard, they began to ask for details: their mentality. They were interested in his intelligence, and asked about his IQ (intellectual quotient), his English, and his education.. All points are very high from Manu Ginóbili, who was already a player with great knowledge of the NBA. It was always seen. He was interested in the game but also loved it, so he was always looking forward to learning how to play it better and better,” Lamas recalls of the magnifying glass that was placed on top of that then-unknown boy but he excelled in the world. Cup semi-final against Australia with 20 points in 29 minutes on the field.

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The story that followed was famous. Tottenham debate between Croatian Jordan Jerichek or Manu Ginobili Until he was finally selected 57th in the 1999 Draft. “I think they had a working system in which they consulted different people in the world. In that draft it was a player named Jordan Jerichek or Manu Ginobili. Already after that moment they didn’t ask for more between him and another. After the draft They consulted about the right moment for Manu to make the leap. And it seems to me that what Manu did in Kinder Bologna decided them clearly,” Lamas analyzed some time ago. Jerichek ended up being dropped by the Dallas Mavericks in the 40th pick, and Tottenham, in this lottery of players, signed Leon Smith in 29th and the Argentine in 57th. The little boy who was a Golden Warriors State fan in his childhood ended up becoming a Spurs legend and part from the Hall of Fame. But that’s how it all began…

Manu Ginobili selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1999 draft

Read on:

Manu Ginóbili shared an unpublished photo album of his career and left a deep message before entering the Hall of Fame

Amber Cross

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