The San Antonio Spurs are steadily becoming a serious threat to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference. With Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili quietly leading and training Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green to take on the lead roles, the Gregg Popovich team is gaining more confidence in toppling the Stephen Curry squad. However, it looks like the next batch of Big Three must hurry in learning the ropes as the older leaders of the San Antonio Spurs might be gone sooner than they expected.
The retirement rumors involving Duncan began to circulate when Kobe Bryant announced his departure from the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA earlier this season. With roughly the same years spent in the league, fans of the San Antonio Spurs star feared that Duncan might follow suit soon - a move that could also prompt Parker and Ginobili to retire as well. However, it appears that Duncan will not be the first to hang his jersey.
Ginobili, who is the widely known reliable sixth man of the San Antonio Spurs, is reportedly mulling over his retirement. Although he has yet to address the rumors directly, some believe that the 38-year-old might be leaving the NBA soon. Moreover, the Argentinian's recent comments are taken as indications of his future plans.
"I take the seasons month by month, not season by season," said Ginobili in an interview with Melissa Rohlin of the San Antonio Express. He added, "I know I have one more Olympics in me. If I have another season, we'll see."
Meanwhile, Duncan was also asked about the possible retirement of Ginobili. Describing his teammate as the "fun and excitement" of the San Antonio Spurs off the bench, the power forward noted that his friend has never been one to put his personal gains over what is best for the team. That is, Duncan admired how Ginobili "accepted" his sixth man role as opposed to signing with another NBA squad to become a starter.
"Tim Duncan on Ginobili: 'He's defined us in a lot of ways. He's the spark and excitement that we've had off the bench for a lot of years.'" wrote Rohlin via social media. She added, "Duncan on Ginobili part 2: 'He's accepted a role, as a guy who could have been a starter elsewhere and probably deserved to be a starter.'"
As for the possibility of Duncan following Ginobili when the latter retires, the former clarified that such decisions are personal. He said via Rohlin's interview, "Duncan on if he'll retire after this season if Manu does: 'We're going to make those decisions individually, not as a group. So, no.'"
Apart from Duncan, it appears that Ginobili has another prominent figure backing his talent - US President Barack Obama. The outgoing exec said of the San Antonio Spurs star, "I can confirm that Ginobili is not only good but one of the best players in the world. The Argentines should be proud because he is a great champion."
Ginobili confirmed his participation in the Olympics under the Argentinian team. Meanwhile, he is yet to comment on whether he will be back with the San Antonio Spurs to play next NBA season.