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GI-NOOOOOOOO-BILI

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San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors - Game Five Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Manu Ginobili has retired. He played 23 years of professional basketball, all 16 in the NBA with the Spurs. The best sixth man of his generation, he shockingly only won Sixth Man of the Year once. But he made two All-NBA teams, two All-Star teams, and had raging success in the playoffs with four championships. And this doesn’t even get into his leadership of the thrilling Argentinian national team.

Strangely enough, he might have the widest emotional resonance among basketball fans of all the Spurs greats who have left the franchise. Tim Duncan is a top-five player of all-time (I have him at No. 4 behind Jordan, LeBron, and Kareem) but actively avoided hero status to the point he now has just a cult following. Tony Parker, who jetted off to Charlotte this summer, has never truly been loved by anyone.

Manu, though ... Manu inspired an entire generation of players to adopt the Eurostep, he had cranky Charles Barkley shouting his name in ecstasy, he made the often mechanical Spurs into art. He was a special talent in so many ways.

We’ll miss you, Manu.

U-Turn

Darius Bazley, the high-end prospect who shocked everyone by declaring months ago he’d forgo enrolling at Syracuse to instead join the G League, has changed his mind again. Now Bazley will not enter the G League and will spend the year working out and preparing for the 2019 NBA Draft.

Why? Bazley told Shams Charania that after working out in front of some NBA teams this summer, he’s confident he doesn’t need time in the G League to prove his worth. What a bummer for people who just want to watch him play basketball, though.

Why isn’t Bazley just in the NBA? Good question. On that note, I wrote about five ways the NBA could end the age minimum over the next couple of years.

Links galore

The Mystics beat the Dream and Storm beat the Mercury in Game 1 of the WNBA semis on Sunday. Here’s how they did it. Both Game 2s are on Tuesday on ESPN2, with Mystics-Dream at 8 p.m. ET and Mercury-Storm at 10.

Here’s the case that by surrounding Elena Delle Donne with the perfect roster, the Mystics are ready to win the title.

Harry Lyles Jr. talked to Lily Abdelmalek, an Atlanta trainer who works with NFL players and Jaylen Brown.

Uh, the Sixers might not hire a new general manager after all.

Kyrie Irving is a weird dude, but this whole episode visiting his mother’s Standing Rock tribe and ending up earning the name “Little Mountain” is just really, really cool.

I wrote about how the most obvious path to a minor breakup of the Warriors is an easy championship.

Kobe Bryant turned 40 last week. Here are his best and worst 40-point games. It’s too bad he only tied Wilt Chamberlain’s record with eight 40-point games shooting 40 percent or under — he really deserved to have that one himself.

A brilliant, tormented Knicks fan sold his rooting interest on eBay. The Knicks responded as ridiculously as you’d imagine.

How Tyreke Evans can mesh with Victor Oladipo.

Beware Steven Adams’ hair.

And finally: all hail Diana Taurasi and this gnarly no-look pass. All hail the G.O.A.T.!

Be excellent to each other.