Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs: NBA Ankles Have Legs?

Lake CruiseAnalyst IOctober 7, 2010

PHOENIX - MAY 05:  Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts to teammate Tony Parker #9 during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on May 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The team is wearing 'Los Suns' jerseys on Cinco de Mayo in response to an anti-immigration law recently passed in Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Spurs 110-102 to take a 2-0 series lead.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

What does a balding 33-year-old former sky walker have left in him over the course of 82 regular season games?

When said dunk master’s family is full of basketball players, there is reason to believe he knows how to save something for the stretch run of a grinding season.

But this is one individual who cannot help but to give any less than level 110 on the basketball court.

Ginobili is a three-time NBA champion, an All-Star, and a recipient of the Sixth Man of the Year crown in 2008.

San Antonio’s favorite sons were set for a magnificent playoff run.

Then in five games, the Spurs were “ate up” by their fanbase’s most despised rivals.  The Lakers dethroned the defending NBA champions in only five games in the Western Conference Finals.

That hurt the ultra-competitive Ginobili to no end.

And to add salt to his wounds, the injuries started to kick in. The next season he only played in 44 games in the regular season. 

The Spurs missed him, dearly, in the first round of the 2009 playoffs.  The Dallas Mavericks smashed the Spurs 4-1. 

The fact that the Mavericks are second to the Lakers in terms of hated rivals for Spurs fans hurt Ginoboli even more.

It was the Spurs first time being eliminated in the first round since Phil Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, Derek Fisher, and Kobe Bryant helped the Lakers to sweep them in 2001.

Manu signed a three-year, $39 million contract extension this past April that will theoretically keep him with the San Antonio Spurs through 2012-2013.

Will his 33-year-old NBA ankles have legs?

He started to lose lift last season, but with plenty of rest and leg strength training, the father of newborn twins could return to his old self in the short term.

Disappointed with how the bench players with the Phoenix Suns throttled the Spurs in the playoff sweep last season, coming back hungrier is a given for Manu.

He turns 34 next July and going by the history of the league’s mid-30s stars, this season could be the last of the sky walker’s high-flying aerial acts.