The San Antonio Spurs are all about the culture of international basketball, seeing as how they have a plethora of foreign players on their roster, but they weren’t too supportive of the overseas play of Manu Ginobili recently.
It is no secret that the 37-year-old native of Argentina played through a stress fracture in his right leg during the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. It wasn’t thought to be as serious as it sounded, since Ginobili showed no signs of the injury in the dominating victories by the Spurs. What was serious was the 12-year veteran’s urge to represent his country in the FIBA World Cup starting at the end of August.
When asked about his leg, Ginobili didn’t allude to any problems or pain with the stress fracture and was geared to take part in the international hoop festivities, but the Spurs would have no part in that. In a letter to one-third of the Spurs’ Big 3, San Antonio communicated their unwillingness to allow Ginobili to play in the World tournament for Argentina.
Among some shady issues with the Argentine team, it is definitely in Ginobili’s best interest to sit this one out for the time being. The Spurs have a chance to repeat as NBA champions for the first time in franchise history and a one-legged aging sixth man would not help the cause. It’s understandable that the passion to represent your country is something special, but the Spurs have become Ginobili’s family and he can’t put their season at risk for his national team.
We saw the damage Tony Parker did to his body by playing all summer for the France national team last year. Parker was visibly fatigued through the season and his body broke down during some stretches. The much older Ginobili must learn from his teammate’s decision and put the Spurs (and his own well being) first.