Manu Ginobili’s game-saving block on James Harden might go down as one of the most memorable blocks of his career but blocking MVPs and superstars is nothing new for the 39-year old. According to ESPN Stats & Info, this block was his fourth career block on a game-tying/go-ahead shot in the final minute of a game; the other three victims were Kevin Love, Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant.
Yes, Kobe Bryant! Ginobili has blocked Kobe more times than the former MVP probably wants to admit and his block on Harden should bring back a not-so-great memory for the Black Mamba. Back in 2007, when Manu still had a head full of black hair, Kobe earned himself a one-game suspension for smacking Manu in the face after having his jump shot blocked in the final seconds of regulation during an overtime loss to the Spurs….sounds familiar?
“I’m blown away by it. It makes no sense.” Said Kobe after hearing he was being suspended for something the refs didn’t even consider a foul. “I unintentionally caught Manu Ginobili. What do you say, it’s a basketball game. You unintentionally catch people with elbows every once in a while.”
This wasn’t the first or last suspension Kobe received for “unintentionally catching” a player after a shot attempt. In the previous season, he served a two-game suspension for elbowing Mike Miller in the throat and just two months after drawing blood from Manu, Kobe smacked Marko “I made a baby with Adriana Lima” Jaric for blocking his shot and earned himself another one-game suspension. Phil Jackson defended his superstar by saying, “It’s not an unnatural basketball motion” but the league and NBA VP Stu Jackson didn’t see it that way and said they will issue a longer suspension if Bryant “keeps it up.”
With the exception of almost getting a suspension for competing with Boogie Cousins in a tech title race in 2013, and picking up a $100,000 fine for an anti-gay slur at referee Bennie Adams in 2011, Kobe did a good job of avoiding league phone calls after 2007. He also did a good job of getting payback on Manu and the Spurs as he led the Lakers to three straight NBA Finals appearances from 2008-2010.
Back to Manu and his impressive resume, here’s a collection of clips featuring him blocking future hall of famers and former MVPs like Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James and once again, Kobe Bryant.
He can even swat bats!