Originally published in SLAM 71

All I can see when I look at this photo and sequence is Charles Barkley stomping around the TNT studio yelling, “Ginobili!” “GINOBILI!!!!” Safe to say, the Chuckster wasn’t the only one doing that. L.A., San Antonio, Argentina—plenty of spots besides the ATL were ringin’.

“GINOBILI!” Yeah, Tim Duncan won MVP again, whatever. David Robinson retiring, so what? Tony Parker can obviously parlez vous point guard. Stephen Jackson has got a value meal of words for Byron Scott. Supersized. But this ain’t about them.

“GINOBILI!” Sir Charles is never quiet, but this was louder than a bomb. So was the dunk. Across the lane with the left. Past the dancing Madsen and thrown down with the left hand before DFish could get over. Maybe they thought his ankle was still tweaked, maybe they thought he was a rookie. He is, but he isn’t. They should have checked manuginobili.com.

“GINOBILI!” Argentina’s finest, getting yells formerly reserved for Maradona. No first name necessary. Diego was a one-named wonder from the pitch; Manu is the new generation. The left hand of God. Pro at 19, two-time MVP of the Italian pro league, and MVP of the 2001 Euroleague Finals, too. Led Argentina to a silver medal at the 2002 World Championships. Quietly, before all of this, the Spurs made him a second-round pick in ’99. You’d think Kobe would have known the truth first. Guess he does now.

Russ Bengtson

At 2:55 in the video below…