It only took seven seasons for the Bahia Blanca raised, Italian/ Euro league made, NBA Spur perfected Emmanuel Ginobili to bring home an individual award—a well-deserved Sixth Man Award.
A panel of sportswriters and broadcasters from the U.S. and Canada delivered their results where the veteran Argentine came up with a total 615 votes and 123 of a possible 124 first-place votes. Following Manu was the Brazilian Leandro Barbosa from the Phoenix Suns with 283 and in third was Dallas Maverick Jason Terry with 44.
To be eligible for the Kia Motors Award a player had to come off the bench more times than starts, and Manu did in a tremendous way - leading his team with 19.5 Pt's along with 4.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.47 steals per-game. The # 20 Spur increased his game by 6.0 points in the year's regular season.
The hype over Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul over shadowed the play of many in the league including one of the most complete players in Manu which is unfortunate - for his strange and collective basketball game has been one of the best in the league and is now seen for being one of the awesome clutch shooters in the game. Not just coming off the Kia Motors Sixth Man Award but during the regular season various Haier plays of the day, dunks of the night and most valuable player in the western conference in February. Above all that - the big- nosed Latin American was the unsurpassed player in the league after the all-star break averaging almost 40 points per- game for three straight weeks.
The All-Star Argentine started his professional career in the tough Italian Leagues in Kinder Bologna where he won two MVP Awards. The following year, the Bahia Blanca native tried his luck in the highly competitive Euro league, winning a championship and finals MVP. The accomplishments not only in Europe but in the NBA make Emmanuel David Ginobili one of the most successful basketball players in the world along with a highly commented debate if the # 20 is one of the greatest if not the greatest sixth man the league has ever encountered.
Manu Ginobili went 57 overall in the 1999 NBA draft and is said to be the great draft pick heist of all-time. The ugliest - beautiful game in the league is the only player to have glued to his resume a Euro league Championship, Olympic Gold Medal , NBA Championship and now, Sixth man Award.