Fans of retired NBA star Manu Ginóbili have always known the Argentinian athlete had a game that was out of this world, so to see his jersey reach the cosmos last week was emblematic of the kind of basketball player he was during his career.
In celebration of Ginóbili’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last month, B2Space, a company that provides access to Low Earth Orbit, launched a San Antonio Spurs Ginóbili jersey into space this past Friday (October 14) with a zero-pressure balloon. The black jersey was autographed by No. 20 himself. It was launched from Burgos, Spain, and remained in Low Earth Orbit for approximately four hours.
Ginóbili played his entire 16-year NBA career with the Spurs before retiring in 2018. He was also an Olympic gold medalist with Argentina’s national team.
“We decided to take Manu Ginóbili’s jersey to space to recognize everything he’s done for the game of basketball in Latin America and sports as a whole,” said Emilio Garcia Duarte, associate vice president and head of marketing for NBA Latin America. “On the heels of his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, his legacy has reached new heights and we thought this was a unique way to celebrate this tremendous honor.”
Ginóbili reacted online to his jersey going on its own space adventure with wonderment. “Whaaaaaat?” he tweeted. “That’s pretty cool!”
Ginóbili was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame on September 10, 2022, making him the first Argentinian player to ever earn the honor. “I’m not here because I was super special,” he said during his induction speech. “I’m here because I was part of two of the most important teams of the 2000s.”
If Warner Bros. ever decided to finish the trilogy with a Space Jam 3, our vote is for Manu Ginóbili to lead an all-Latine team in an intergalactic B-ball competition.