While the World Cup remains front and center in the hearts and minds of Argentinians, they’re quite familiar with celebrating NBA championships. Favorite son Manu Ginobili brought the NBA championship trophy to Argentina on Friday as part of a summer-long tour.
Twelve members of the 2014 NBA champion San Antonio Spurs will bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy to their hometowns in the coming months. Ginobili made the first stop on a tour that will travel to 12 cities in six countries.
Ginobili’s visit included more than just a photo op with the Spurs’ fifth trophy. He confirmed during a news conference that he played during the NBA Finals with a slight stress fracture in his lower right fibula. Ginobili also reaffirmed his hope to play for his country in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, which starts in late August.
"If by July 25 I’m healthy, I’ll play for Argentina," Ginobili said, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
While that appears to be an optimistic timeline for a stress fracture to heal, Ginobili’s commitment to the Argentina national team is unparalleled. If it’s medically possible, Ginobili will suit up in another international competition.
The Spurs’ global roots run deep, which is one reason why the organization is taking the Larry O’Brien Trophy around the world. Other visits include Australia (Patty Mills and Aron Baynes), Italy (Marco Belinelli), France (Tony Parker and Boris Diaw) and Canada (Cory Joseph). Stateside stops are being made in New Hampshire (Matt Bonner), New York (Danny Green) and California (Kawhi Leonard, Jeff Ayres and Austin Daye).
"This tour gives our organization an opportunity to celebrate our diverse roster and thank the NBA’s loyal fan support from around the globe," Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said. "For the first time in Spurs history, our players will be able to bring a unique part of the championship experience to their family, friends and fans."
Spurs players are taking the trophy to various events, such as basketball camps, family gatherings, music festivals and charity events spanning four different continents.
Fans can follow the Larry O’Brien Trophy on its journey online at Spurs.com, as well as with the hashtag #SpursTrophyTour through the following social media channels: Twitter (@Spurs), Facebook (facebook.com/spurs) and Instagram (@OfficialSpurs).