While I’m from Toronto, my favourite Manu story, not surprisingly took place in San Antonio.
The story starts four generations ago. You see, all of the male names in my family start with the letter G.
When my wife and I were watching the 2005 NBA Finals (we were dating at the time) the announcers were talking about how people in San Antonio were naming their players after the Big Three. Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. With the thought running through my head that “Ginobili starts with the letter G”, I turned to my wife with my a big smile on my face and, without me saying a word, she said “don’t even think about”.
Fast forward three years and my wife and I had traveled to San Antonio to catch a couple of games in late February after the Spurs arrived back in San Antonio following their annual Rodeo Road Trip.
Prior to the first game, with our wrist bands secured, we waited after pregame shoot around for the players to walk by. Manu, true to form, was the player who spent the most time with the fans, making sure everyone got a signature (remember when selfie’s were not a thing yet?).
As Manu signed my Ginobili jersey, my wife struck up a conversation with him and told him about the G names in the family and how we were going to name our first born after him.
Without missing a beat, Ginobili said “my apologies”. A smile quickly flashed on his face as he added “for the name” (playfully poking fun at himself). Handing the signed jersey back to me, he then congratulated us.
The funny thing was, even though we did not know it a the time, my wife was pregnant with our first born during that conversation with Manu. So, as the story goes, Manu was the first person to congratulate on his being pregnant!
All of this is to say thank you to a man who touched so many people in so may different ways.
Gracias Manu, thanks for everything!
Oh, and to close the loop on the story, both our sons names both start with the letter G - although neither of them are named Ginobili.