There’s no mistake about it - Manu Ginobili is one of the greatest European players who ever played in the NBA. The proud son of Argentina who made a name for himself in the Euro League dazzled and mystified the NBA with his basketball brilliance. Sadly, all good things must come to end as he announced on his social media account that he is retiring.

The end of an era

Who would have thought that this year would be the single most difficult year for the San Antonio Spurs? After the untimely death of Gregg Popovich's wife, it seems that the lone star state can’t seem to get a break. Their long-time court general, Tony Parker, just signed with the Charlotte Hornets and the face of the franchise, Kawhi Leonard, just got traded to the Toronto Raptors, according to NBA.com.

San Antonio was left with Manu Ginobili until he made the shocking announcement a few hours ago.

Deemed as the greatest “Big Three” in the last two decades, the Spurs are now ready to move forward without them. However, filling up the hole that Duncan, Parker and Ginobili left is easier said than done. This trio developed a chemistry than it is unheard of in the game of basketball. While Tim Duncan is recognized as the main man of the franchise, Parker and Ginobili widely accepted their role for the benefit of the team. They’ve won multiple championships, became All-Stars and has the highest winning percentage in the NBA as a trio.

Manu Ginobili’s career highlights

During his 16-year career, Ginobili was able to garner achievements that most players are still dreaming of. The menu noted by ESPN is a 4x NBA Champion, 2x NBA All-Star, Sixth Man of the Year award and had gone to the playoffs 16 consecutive times.

Ginobili was admired and at the same time, feared by many NBA players due to his basketball I.Q. He was often described as "special and fearless" which is the reason why he is great. Arguably, his biggest accomplishment in his career was when he led his national team in the 2004 Athens Olympics. They won the gold medal and in the process, they’ve also defeated Team USA.

Lasting impact on the game

Perhaps Ginobili was able to show the world that effort is a difference maker in any sports. A late second-round draft pick who was initially counted out by the naysayers, Manu flourished in the game with grace, humility and pride. He was a true student of the game by one of the greatest head coaches in basketball. Ginobili has now cemented his name as one of the architects of the infamous “beautiful game”. The next step for him is to be enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.