Today is Day 20. Yesod sheb’tiferet. The beautiful pioneer.
With the 57th pick from the in the 1999 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs selected an unknown guard from Argentina, Manu Ginóbili. Once Ginóbili made his NBA debut in 2002, it didn’t take long for Manu to make a name for himself. Over an illustrious 16 year career with the San Antonio Spurs, he became a 2x All-Star and 4x NBA Champion, while averaging 13.3 points and 3.8 assists/game.
When he retired in 2018, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote: “An NBA champion and All-Star, Manu Ginóbili is also a pioneer who helped globalize the NBA.” Like Joseph, the Biblical figure associated with today’s sefirah, yesod, Ginóbili was a pioneer.
He was the star of Argentina’s Golden Generation that produced 10 NBA players and a 2004 Olympic Gold Medal. In their critical semifinal game, he scored 29 points to lead Argentia to the upset victory over the USA. On Day 20, yesod sheb’tiferet, Ginóbili’s beautiful game also embodies the week of tif’eret. Manu was fast and fearless and played the game with a unique flair. I’m not sure what was more beautiful: his creative dribbles, fancy passes, or clutch plays.
Ginóbili was also uniquely unselfish, doing something that Scottie Pippen never could. Despite being an All-Star, he was willing to come off the bench for the good of the team for most of his career. Despite being primarily a 6th man for the Spurs, Ginóbili would finish games and was part of the Spurs foundation, forming the Big 3, with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
Ginobli’s highlight reel is pretty incredible, but for me, nothing beats his victory vs. the bat.