To anybody who was watching the Spurs’ playoff series with Memphis, it really doesn’t come as much of a shock.
Manu Ginobili, simply stated, is a tough physical player.
Ginobili played the final five games of the Memphis series with what amounted to a broken arm. Because his team needed him, Ginobili wrapped his injured limb in a brace that appeared to be borrowed from the movie “Rollerball” and played his games.
No complaints, no fanfare.
Sean Sweeney of Dime Magazine.com must have been watching, after voting Ginobili to No. 3 on his list of the. His award is named in honor of the former Utah forward Matt Harpring, who played through his share of physical ailments during his 11-season career.
Here’s what Sweeney had to say about Ginobili’s performance in that series and his ability to persevere through pain throughout his career.
“3. Manu Ginobili – Flopping aside, I’ve learned to respect Ginobili over the years. He went from annoying to awesome. I could watch him play all day now. Remember during this postseason when Rajon Rondo was being celebrated as the next Willis Reed? “I can’t believe this! What heart! He’s playing with one arm!”
“Well Ginobili ACTUALLY WAS playing with one arm. And he still gave Memphis 20 a night. Ginobili doesn’t care about the critics or the love. He’s just a nasty competitor (and rarely says a word about it all).
“In my opinion, he’s easily one of the toughest players who’s ever played this game.”
Truer words have never been written about “El Contusion,” who certainly qualifies as one of the toughest players in NBA history, much less among those in this generation.
Here is Sweeney’s list of the NBA’s fiercest 10 players.
1. Kobe Bryant
2. Steve Nash
3. Manu Ginobili
4. Dirk Nowitzki
5. Paul Pierce
6. Wesley Matthews
7. Carl Landry
8. Grant Hill
9. Anthony Carter
10. Udonis Haslem
Sweeney also mentions that he could have included DeJuan Blair on his list somewhere.
But interestingly enough, despite all the publicity during the playoffs Rondo is nowhere on his list.