Manu Ginobili changed the game of basketball with just a couple of herky-jerky steps. Many have contributed to the sport in various ways, but only a handful can say they patented a move that had an entire generation of hoopers ditch their daily routines, spending countless hours working to master.
Like Tim Hardaway’s killer crossover, God Shammgod’s signature “ShammGod,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook, and a handful of others, Ginobili’s Eurostep wasn’t just for show. It had a purpose. Just ask legendary head coach Phil Jackson, who once complained about the move when referencing the league’s rule change on traveling, calling it a “two-step walk” and exclaiming that a European style influencing the NBA allowed “guys pick it up and run a couple of steps with the ball.”
Despite the Eurostep’s detractors, it threw opponents off balance, forcing them to either look dumbfounded while Ginobili gracefully slipped past them or hack and send the Spurs’ bald-spotted wonder to the charity stripe. Dwyane Wade copied it, once using it to nail a running game-winner against Chicago in 2009 and as a celebration. James Harden mastered it, employing the move to lead the Rockets to their best record in franchise history and win the MVP in 2017-18. When it’s all said and done, only Ginobili, one of the best players in Spurs history and an unselfish star who sacrificed being in the starting lineup to carve out a career as arguably the most electric sixth man in NBA history, can claim it.
Debating on Ginobili’s legitimacy as a Hall of Famer? Here are the facts: four NBA titles, two All-Star appearances, Olympic gold medal with his native Argentina in 2004. He was the leading scorer on an Argentine team that captured the first ever victory over a USA basketball team with a roster featuring NBA players, something that was done in 2002. Euroleague title, in which he won the Finals’ MVP. Two Italian League MVPs. Case Closed: Hello, Springfield.