Manu Ginobili joined a Spurs' team in 2002 that perennially won 50 games but hadn't reached The Finals since 1999.
Steve Kerr believes Ginobili gave Gregg Popovich and the Spurs a new element with his creativity. Kerr spent the majority of seasons late in his career with the Spurs.
“We were a vanilla team,” Kerr said. “Very successful, but we were like a football team that just ran the ball every play, played great defense, won the special teams battle. There was nothing exciting about us. Manu came up and sort of shook up the organization in a good way, shook up Pop, changed the way he looked at the game. We needed that creativity, that fire.”
“Changed the culture of basketball, in my opinion, even if it doesn't get talked about,” Kevin Durant said. “Changed what the Sixth Man (award) means. A lot of people think he's from Europe, which he's not. South America. But all the guys I played with from Venezuela, Argentina, all the guys in the league just bring that toughness and that fight. Manu's one of those guys that means more to the game than people think.”