There’s the glitz and the glamour — and the NBA sells that part enormously well. You see a lot more dunks and long 3-pointers on the highlights than all the other critical elements of effective basketball — the stuff coaches try desperately to imbue in their players. Moving your feet on defense for instance — you don’t see SportsCenter taking time out to show how Chris Paul manages to somehow stay in front of the otherworldly wizards of ball-handling he faces each night, like Steph Curry, for example. Nope, instead the TV shows a fastbreak dunk that’s the result of lazy transition defense. But back to those other elements, the crucial little things that result from pure hard work, grit and determination. Gatorade just made a commercial with venerable San Antonio Spurs superstar Manu Ginobili that shows kids what it really takes to succeed. Next time you see NBA-loving kids watching some superfluous crossover that leads to a 3, show them this Manu spot.
This is how you earn it in the old E.F. Hutton sense. To paraphrase that financial firm’s tagline, “Manu Ginobili makes history the old fashioned way — he earns it.” Un poco mas. A bit more. Always a bit more. Siempre. Ginobili is in his 16th season with the Spurs. He is now 40 years old. His career averages of 13.6 points, 3.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds don’t begin to tell Ginobili’s Hall of Fame story. His four NBA titles, and the fact that he’s never been on a losing team, speak to the story of Ginobili much more accurately. So does this terrific ad from Gatorade.