For Ginobili, playing in the NBA was a galaxy far, far away

FILE - In this March 31, 2017, file photo, San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) and center Pau Gasol, obscured at center, celebrate with teammate Kawhi Leonard (2) after a basket with 5.8 second left by Leonard in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City. The Spurs have watched franchises in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and elsewhere bottom out after losing a foundational star. Not only have they not bottomed out, they enter the Western Conference playoffs eyeing a sixth championship.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Growing up, San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili never had thoughts of having a career in the NBA.

Now in his 15th season, Manu has not only made a name for himself in the sport he loves, he is surely on his way to being a first ballot Basketball Hall of Famer.

Manu was one of a slew of international players to make their way into the professional league and to say that he and others have not made their marks on the game is preposterous.

But his hard work and never-ending energy made Manu into one of the league's best, even at 40-years old.

Now a new core of international players are coming into the league, and making their mark faster than a blink of an eye.

Speaking with Yahoo! Sports, Ginobili reflected on his path to the NBA and paving the way for today's international stars.

“For me, it was like going to a different galaxy. It was like a dream far, far away.”
“So it was something very hard to get to. Kids are getting confident. They see coming to the NBA as something that’s probable. I wouldn’t say easier, because this is a very competitive league. Everyone wants to make it. Everyone wants to be in it. But it doesn’t seem as improbable as it used to be.”
“These kids. Ridiculous.”
“They are so extraordinary in their talent, size, athleticism and abilities that we didn’t used to see overseas.

A league in which is at the top of the pyramid that everyone hopes to have a chance of playing in, and Manu is living the dream.

Not bad for a kid from Argentina who had no thoughts of such an NBA career and being a 4-time NBA Champion, NBA Sixth Man of the Year, and a multiple-time NBA All-Star on his resume.

And the way he is playing this season, it might be safe to say that Manu may have much more left in his tank to keep on being the beacon for players outside the USA to realize a dream that may not be so far, far away.

Twitter: @MichaelRehome