Welcome to Manu's basketball familia

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Four years ago in London, the last aging members of Argentina's Golden Generation sat at their lockers and wept after losing a frantic bronze-medal game to Russia. The nation's two greatest players, Luis Scola and Manu Ginobili, gathered themselves and spoke to mark the moment.

"I would rather lose with you guys than win with any other group of players," Ginobili said through tears. Scola said the same nike nfl jerseys from china

"Everyone was crying even more," Andres Nocioni recalled. "I had never seen anything like that, so much crying in a locker room. We knew it was our last opportunity to do something big."

The players then did what they do every night they are together: head out for a long and raucous group dinner. "It's a rule: win or lose, there is a team dinner," said Pablo Prigioni, a point guard on the 2012 team. "To celebrate together, or cry together."4

The 12 men cried together that night in London, assuming Scola, Ginobili and Nocioni had played in their final Olympics eight years after leading Argentina to its historic gold medal in Athens. They also celebrated. They toasted to each other, to the bus rides and absurd airport connections across South and Central America in those early years, and to what the Golden Generation had accomplished.

"The things that were said at that dinner -- the stories, the love, the tears going down," Ginobili said. "Those are the things that keep people together forever."

The old heads flashed back to another dinner, in the summer of 2002 at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Indianapolis, hours after Yugoslavia had beaten them in the FIBA World Championship gold-medal game. The players wallowed that night. They were angry over crunch-time calls and the bad luck of Ginobili suffering a severe ankle injury in the semifinals.

R.C. Buford, the Spurs' general manager, watched from a few tables away. He couldn't sleep after the gold-medal game, and strolled to Ruth's Chris to eat alone. He sat transfixed by the camaraderie of the Argentine team. "I just stared at them," Buford said. "It was the best team environment I had ever seen." He finally went over and said hello to Ginobili, who would start his rookie season in San Antonio a few months official nike nfl jerseys

The Spurs drafted Ginobili almost by accident with the 57th pick in 1999. Buford first laid eyes on Ginobili during the 22-and-under world championships in Australia in 1997. He was there to scout other players. He had never heard of Ginobili. "He was like a wild colt out there," Buford said, "just doing crazy s---. Some of it made sense, and some of it didn't."

The Spurs had won the 1999 title, and they hoped to keep a pricey roster together; they didn't want to draft anyone with a chance of making their team the next season. They traded out of the first round, and took a flier on Ginobili only after failing to find a fair deal for their pick. They even nabbed another draft-and-stash guy, Gordan Giricek, 17 spots ahead of Ginobili. "We got lucky as hell," Buford said.

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