They are considered the best basketball players from Argentina so much so collectively they are called the "Golden Generation." Of course I am talking about Team Argentina with San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili, Carlos Delfino, Fabricio Oberto, Carlos Delfino, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni, and Pablo Prigioni.
Together, they have been considered one of the best teams in international play, were the first to defeat the might U.S. basketball team, and have made a huge impact on the NBA with their tough, "team-first" type of play. Moreover, these players have pretty much grown up together at a young age whether it be on or off the court. It wouldn't be a stretch to say they view each other as brothers.
Currently, Team Argentina is contending for a medal in what quite possibly is the last time this team will have a roster made up of the "Golden Generation" members playing together.
And if this is the last time these players are on the court together, Nocioni succinctly summed up how close he is to his fellow countrymen and Ginobili.
[...]Andres Nocioni tried to summarize the bond his teammates share in over a decade-long commitment to Argentina's national team. "I die for Manu (Ginobili)," Nocioni said. "Manu die for me."
What makes Team Argentina so special is exactly that bond Andres is referring to. It's not that they are simply a team out on the court to perform a job, they consider each other family. They have been together for over a decade and have been through many battles and high-points. And it is this close-knit bond that many teams lack in the NBA.
They play with passion, intensity, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to make sure their team gets the win on the court -- something Spurs fans know all too well with Ginobili.
And while many Spurs fans may be dreading the day Tim Duncan hangs up his sneakers, they should also dread the day Manu does as well. He, along with the other members of the "Golden Generation" of Argentina basketball, represents that commitment to excellence.
Something Spurs fans will die to have just a little bit longer from Manu.