"It's been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams."
San Antonio Spurs lifer Manu Ginobili officially announced his retirement from the NBA today after 16 seasons with the team that drafted him 57th overall in 1999.
Ginobili, 41, released the following statement regarding his decision: "Today, with a wide range of feelings, I'm announcing my retirement from basketball. IMMENSE GRATITUDE to everyone (family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, fans) involved in my life in the last 23 years. It's been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams."
The crafty lefty from Argentina averaged 8.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 20 minutes of action per night last season for the Spurs. He has spent each of his 16 NBA seasons in San Antonio since being drafted by the Spurs 57th overall in the 1999 NBA Draft. Ginobili starred in Europe before eventually coming to the United States for his rookie season in '02.
Over the course of his professional basketball career, Ginobili was named Euroleague MVP in 2001, won an Olympic gold medal with Argentina in 2004, earned NBA All-Star honors twice, and captured four NBA championships with the Spurs. Ginobili has played 1,057 regular season and 218 playoff games with the Spurs, ranking fifth all-time in Spurs' history in minutes played, fifth in points (14,043), fourth in assists (4,001) and first in steals (1392).