LOS ANGELES, United States, May 23 – San Antonio Spurs legend Manu Ginobili said on Monday he would take his time before deciding on his future after an emotion-filled defeat to the Golden State Warriors.
The 39-year-old Argentine star, a veteran of four NBA championship-winning Spurs teams, left the court to a resounding ovation as San Antonio’s season ended with a 129-115 loss in Texas.
But the veteran guard, who turns 40 in July, said he planned to let the dust settle on his latest season before deciding on his future in the NBA.
Ginobili said he felt as if the San Antonio crowd were bidding him farewell, but was adamant he could still continue to play at the highest level.
“I felt more energetic, more needed, more useful to the team, so I ended up feeling better than the way I started,” Ginobili said.
“I do feel like I can still play. But that’s not what is going to make me retire or not. It’s about how I feel. If I want to go through all of that again. It felt like they wanted me to retire. Like they were giving me sort of a celebration night.
“And of course, I’m getting closer and closer. There is no secret, for sure. It’s getting harder and harder. But I always said that I wanted to let it sink in for three weeks, four weeks, whatever, and then I will sit with my wife and see how it feels.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he would not rush Ginobili into making a decision.
“If he decides he’s going to play again that’s up to him,” said Popovich. “Manu is a grown man. He’ll figure out what is best for him and his family.”
Ginobili meanwhile said whatever his choice — playing on or retiring — he would be happy.
“I have to choose between two truly wonderful options,” Ginobili said.
“One is to keep playing in this league at this age, enjoying every day, playing the sport I still love.
“The other one is to stay at home, be a dad, travel more, enjoy my whole family. I have a wonderful family and spend time with them.
“Whatever it is, it’s two unbelievable options. So there is no way I can be sad, because whatever I decide, it’s going to be great.”