The team also played the Argentine national anthem before the game and wore warm-up shirts in Ginobili’s honor.
The San Antonio Spurs paid homage to Mani Ginobili on Thursday night with a special postgame ceremony after the team defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 116–110.
San Antonio kicked off celebrations by giving every fan at the event an exclusive commemorative Ginobili hat and fanbangos. The Spurs hung photos from throughout Ginobili’s 16-year career across the stadium, allowing fans to gather in honor of the retired veteran.
Before the start of the game, the Spurs’ lineup also wore “Gracias Manu” warm-up shirts in Ginobili’s honor. The Argentine national anthem was then played before tip off.
At halftime, members of the Argentinian National Team participated in a roundtable to discuss Manu, his impact on Argentinian basketball and his legacy worldwide. The Spurs also paid tribute to Ginobili with a special highlight video.
Ginobili became the ninth Spurs player to have his number raised to the rafters after the game, joining Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan, Sean Elliott, George Gervin, Avery Johnson, Johnny Moore, David Robinson and James Silas.
“I would not be the player I became without you being my teammate,” Tony Parker told Ginobili during the ceremony after the game. “You were such an inspiration to me every day that it was just contagious. You helped me become a better player just playing with you.”
“The way the team was set up, we all needed each other, and without Manu, there were no championships,” coach Gregg Popovich added. “It was not going to happen without Manu. As Tony said, his ferocity, his drive, his unbelievable will to win, his competitiveness, were off the charts.”
Drafted as the 57th overall pick of the 1999 Draft, Ginobili ended his career as the Spurs’ all-time leader in 3-pointers made (1,495) and steals (1,392) while ranking third in games played (1,057), fourth in assists (4,001), fourth in free throws made (3,380) and fifth in points (14,043). He made the All-NBA Third Team in 2008 and 2011, was a two-time All-Star (2005, 2011) and the 2008 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
Ginobili won four championships with the Spurs before retiring in August 2018.