JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Can we stop pushing Manu out the door?

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 9.56.22 AM

So two nights ago I was at the gym watching SportsCenter (yes, it’s still on), and they were paying all these odes and tributes to Manu Ginobili, the soon-to-be-retired San Antonio Spurs guard. It was beautiful and lovely and befitting of a man who will—if one takes into account the full body of his NBA and international work—ultimately wind up in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

With one small problem: It doesn’t sound like he’s about to retire.

Truly, this struck me as a perfect entry in the don’t-let-the-facts-kill-a-lovely-narrative book of sports journalism. Ginobili has not said he plans on retiring. He hasn’t even really hinted that he plans on retiring. The most he said is it’s something he needs to think about. But, if you listened to his comments after the Spurs’ Game 4 loss to Golden State, it seemed awfully clear that he wants to continue playing next season, at age 40.

Sooooo … why are we pushing him out?

I’m not sure. We like heartwarming stories? The Spurs clearly want him out? The playoffs have been, drama-wise, awful? We hate the idea of the lifetime Spur coming back in 2017-18 as a Net or Knick or Pacer?

I don’t know.

But it’s contrived.