Argentina stalwart Manu Ginobili, previously thought to have played his final international game, made himself available for a fourth Olympics this summer, according to the country’s basketball federation.
Ginobili, 38, missed the 2013 FIBA Americas, 2014 FIBA World Cup and 2015 FIBA Americas and reportedly said in 2014, “I can say for almost certain, 98 percent, that I won’t play any more [for Argentina].”
The San Antonio Spurs All-Star led Argentina to gold at the Athens 2004 Games. That’s the only team other than the U.S. to win men’s basketball gold since 1988. He also helped Argentina take bronze in 2008 and finish fourth in 2012.
Ginobili is so revered that a statue was erected of him in Buenos Aires.
Ginobili, a national team player since 1998, is among notable players from the inspiring 2004 Olympic champion team nearing or at the end of international careers. There’s also Andres Nocioni, 36, Luis Scola, 35, and Carlos Delfino, 33.
Argentina qualified for the Rio Games by reaching the 2015 FIBA Americas final without Ginobili.
In August, Ginobili will be older than all but one Olympic basketball player since 1992, according to sports-reference.com. The oldest player in that stretch was Puerto Rico’s 40-year-old Jose Ortiz in 2004.
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