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Old 07-05-05, 12:48 AM
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"I Had a Major Role" by: Manu

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Wow - how can I explain to you what I feel! It's hard for me to begin because many things come to my mind, everything is scrambled. I believe that most important thing is that at this moment I feel like I contributed to this title more than in 2003 because I was more of a key player. I feel more deserving of the trophy. For that reason I am enjoying it. This time I had more responsibilities and more pressures. It was worth all the pain.

Luckily I could bring my family and share this joy with them. When the game finished, I saw them celebrating and they were hugging in the stands and I couldn't be with them. Luckily later they could come down and we embraced a lot.

I tied the flag to my waist and approached my wife, like in 2003. I do not know where we got it, I believe that an Argentinean in playoffs of that year gave it to us and we saved it. She always brings it to the arena. It's not the same one that we had at the Olympic Games, of course, because she did not go to Athens.

As far as the comparison with the Gold Medal, the value can be the same, but emotionally there is a difference. This NBA title had much to do with being a professional, the one in Greece came from the heart because we felt a great pride to represent a flag, a country, and so many millions of people. But, I repeat, professionally this was the greatest of my life. I am very lucky to have achieved my second title in the third year that I have been here.

It is enough to think that several of my teammates, like Massemburg, Barry, and Robinson, with more than 10 seasons in the league, never having gotten to this point. I cannot deny being happy and feeling pretty lucky.

I know that many people remained until late watching the games on various occasions. So I am very thankful for all the support that you gave me and so this is because of you. And I found out that the ratings went up and that in my League, in Bahiense del Norte, they put up a giant screen and an incredible number of people showed up. It's very satisfying to have brought another joy to the Argentineans.

The truth is, it seemed like it was taking forever to finish the final series; it was extremely long and the last the four days were the hardest, very rough, very tense and nerve-racking. Happily, it ended with a smile, that is incredible. Detroit is a great team and a most difficult rival; they have as good a defense as ours and they put a lot of pressure on us. Unlike the previous game, in the seventh game we were able to make the best plays in the last quarter, just as they had done in the sixth game, but it could have gone either way. This time I worried that I would have something left in my tank in the last quarter; I did not want what happened to me in the game before, where I was worn out. For that reason, in the first quarter when I went to the bench after my second foul I wasn't worried about it. I knew that that was not going to mess things up and that it was just something circumstantial.

OK, now it is time to talk about "Mr. 21" Tim Duncan, who was fantastic. Pop (Gregg Popovich, the head coach) had told us that the key was for Tim to take at least 25 shots. And he not only did that, he also grabbed a boatload of rebounds (11) and when they doubled him in the paint, he kicked it out to Bowen or me. He was very aggressive and the MVP was deserved (prize to the most valuable player). They commented to me that people were calling my name in the arena, but I did not listen to it, the crowd noise was very high and I was very focused on what I was doing. The only thing I wanted was that the game finish as soon as possible. In addition, there are so many specialists watching, who study this and know there are no doubts that if they chose Tim it is because he deserved it. It was enough that I saw that prize next to Tim.

Just because I have made an important three-pointer at the end or some free throws, does not mean that I have won the game. The guy who opened the lane with his game was Duncan. There are no doubts that he was the best player. I feel proud that they have considered me to win that award. But it is also clear that he didn't win the ring by himself; the title we obtained because we have a great team that plays without ego, with a great defense, and always had a common objective. We won the last game because we finished the game better. We had five final minutes that were very sweet.

In the first period we were also very focused, but toward the end we committed four turnovers and as a result they were tied to us. It was not until I believe there were less than 20 seconds and I hit two free throws, I thought that we had won the game; in addition, I think they didn't have any more timeouts. It was done.

What I can tell you about my work? I was very happy because I could get to the Finals, without injuries, doing what needed to be done. So now I am not going to want to cut my hair for a long time.

It was really a incredible series, with a huge responsibility for both teams and I believe that it was exciting for people. Luckily everything ended well. I finished very tired, only had enough juice left to shake the bottle of champagne. It was like in Athens, how I finished dead and couldn't even walk, but at party time I jumped more than in all the Olympic Games. The truth is, to win two NBA titles and an Olympic Gold in three years seems incredible, that it does not occur very often. I believe that it is too much for a single person

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Old 07-05-05, 03:34 AM
dreadlocd's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Spurs|ATX|
So now I am not going to want to cut my hair for a long time.
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