In expected but extremely appreciated news, the San Antonio Spurs announced Thursday that the ageless Manu Ginóbili will be returning to the team, on a 2-year $5 million deal. The news was first reported by Shams Charania of the Vertical, before being confirmed by the team.
Manu, who will be entering his 16th season this year, said last month that he had plans to come back for another year, but this new deal gives him the option to make that two. The four-time NBA champion will become just the eighth player in NBA history to spend his entire career with one team for at least 16 seasons. He will join the elite company of his teammates Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, as well as Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Reggie Miller, John Stockton, and John Havlicek as the only players to accomplish this feat.
The 40-year-old Argentine national has played in 992 regular season NBA games as well as 212 postseason contests. Aside from the 4 rings, Manu is also a two-time NBA All-Star, an Olympic gold medalist, and a Euroleague MVP. Overall, he is one of the most celebrated foreign born NBA players of all time–and certainly the most decorated Latino player ever. He was an integral piece in San Antonio’s long standing dynasty spanning from the late 90s through, well, now.
During the 2016-17 season, Manu made $14 million (a whopping $11.5 million more than he will make this upcoming season) while averaging 7.5 points in just 18.7 minutes a game. In last season’s NBA playoffs, Ginobili had flashes of brilliance, proving he still had a lot left in the tank. After all, who could forget his game-ending block on James Harden in game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals? In game 3 of the next round against the Golden State Warriors, he racked up 21 points to become the first player age 39 or older to score 20 or more points off the bench in a playoff game since the NBA began tracking starts in 1970-71, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
As the news was announced, fans took to twitter to show their support for one of the most beloved players that the NBA has ever seen. Many fans flooded timelines with tweets both funny and reflective about the Spurs legend.