Manu Ginóbili retired at age 41 Monday after a "fabulous journey" in which he helped the San Antonio Spurs win four NBA championships in 16 seasons with the club.
The left-handed guard with the quick move and sure shot had a pro career that lasted 23 seasons in all, starting with stints in Italy and his native Argentina. He came to San Antonio in 2002 and formed what was a "Big Three" with the Spurs, alongside Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
That era is now officially over: Duncan has been retired, and Parker elected this summer to sign with the Charlotte Hornets.
Ginóbili, the No. 57 pick in the 1999 draft, averaged 13.3 points and 3.8 assists in 1,057 regular-season games. He was a two-time All-Star and was the league's Sixth Man of the Year in 2008.
He also helped Argentina score a shock gold medal victory at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
He is one of only eight players in history – and the only non-US born player – to have won four NBA championships and an Olympic gold.
"Today, with a wide range of feelings, I'm announcing my retirement from basketball," the Argentine superstar wrote on Twitter in making the announcement. "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."
And Ginóbili, even though he was often coming off the bench, has a resumé of postseason production like almost no one else in NBA history. Only two players have more than 800 rebounds, 800 assists and 300 3-pointers in their playoff careers — Ginóbili and LeBron James.
Ginóbili's final game was April 24, when the Spurs were ousted from the Western Conference playoffs by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. San Antonio lost the series 4-1.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was once a teammate of Ginóbili's in San Antonio. And as Golden State celebrated moving on to the second round, Kerr offered Ginóbili a sales pitch.
"Keep going, OK? Why not?" Kerr told Ginóbili that day at Oracle Arena as they shared an embrace. "Hey, we met Roger Federer this year in China. I said 'Why do you keep playing?' He said 'I love it.' If you love it, keep going."
Moments later, Ginóbili left an NBA court as a player for the last time.