Manu Ginobili will try to lead Argentina to a third Olympic basketball medal in four Games, headlining the 12-man roster announced Saturday.
Ginobili, 38 and a national-team player since 1998, was one of four notable members of the 2004 Olympic champion team that made Argentina’s squad for Rio. The others are Andres Nocioni and Luis Scola, both 36, and Carlos Delfino, who is 33, all of whom have played in the NBA.
Ginobili 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].”
He changed his mind in March, making himself available for the Olympic team.
The San Antonio Spurs All-Star led Argentina to gold at the Athens 2004 Games, handing the U.S. its last loss in Olympic competition in the semifinals. 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.
Argentina qualified for the Rio Games by reaching the 2015 FIBA Americas final without Ginobili.
Ginobili is so revered that a statue was erected of him in Buenos Aires.
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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