06 - 21
August 2016
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Manu returns to bolster Argentina at Rio Games

BUENOS AIRES (2016 Rio Olympics) - Remember that glorious Olympic campaign of Argentina 12 years ago in Athens, Greece, when the South Americans captured the gold medal? Remember the player who scored on slashing moves to the basket, with shots made while falling down or with clutch 3-pointers?

That team and that player will be a star attraction once again this year at the Rio de Janeiro Games. The 2004 MVP of Argentina's dramatic run to glory, Manu Ginobili, has decided to make one last appearance with his national team. He is to play at the 2016 Olympics.

The 38-year-old will look to help Argentina with their Group B campaign against Brazil, Lithuania, Spain, Nigeria and a team that wins one of the three FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQTs).

Ginobili, a four-time NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs, the club he still plays for, will bolster an Argentina squad that made a run to the Final of last year's FIBA Americas Championship.

He didn't play in 2015, yet Ginobili couldn't stay away, either. He sat courtside and watched as the Argentina team led by coach Sergio Hernandez and superstar Luis Scola beat hosts Mexico to clinch a spot in Rio.

Hernandez was thrilled to hear from Ginobili that he was making himself available.

"It's a very brave and correct decision," Hernandez said. "To say that I'm happy, personally, that Manu is available, would be to see things from a small angle, from a very insignificant spot."

It's a very brave and as well, correct decision from my point of view. He will be able to end his career with the national team at the Olympics. It's one of the most important decisions for sports in Argentina today. Ginobili is an emblem. Welcome Manu. And now, to enjoy it. - Hernandez

Ginobili's presence will aid a squad that has some other players from the 2004 success in Andres Nocioni and Scola. The team also has point guard Facundo Campazzo, who played big minutes at the 2012 Olympics.

Ginobili (ARG) last played for Argentina at the 2012 Olympics

The Argentina Basketball Confederation (CABB) is excited by the news that Ginobili wants to play at the Olympics.

We received this news with happiness, it's natural. It's very important his presence in the team and what he brings to the team. He's a crucial protagonist in our history and we aspire for him to continue to be in the future. -  CABB president Federico Susbielles

Ginobili has played in 98 games for Argentina. The last appearance was at the 2012 Olympics in London, when Argentina fell to Russia in the Bronze Medal Game. Ginobili had intended to play at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup but was prevented from doing so because of injury.