Manu Ginobili and the little things

By Henry Abbott

If you have an internet connection (and I know you do) then you have undoubtedly already seen the amazing Manu Ginobili defending innocent NBA games from evil Halloween bat assaults.

It's a great thing. I mean, honestly, have you ever been in an enclosed space with a bat? Did you bare-hand it out of the sky? Did it even occur to you to try? We live in a world that addresses that by opening the window and leaving the house. Or pillow cases and lacrosse sticks and all that. But just snagging it? That's what Kobe Bryant was talking about in "Kobe Doin' Work." When Manu appeared on the screen, Bryant says, with meaning, "that's a bad boy right there."

Watch again, and this time look at Kevin Martin, raising his arms in self defense. That's what any normal human would do.

There are three parts of that video that I feel are especially important:

  • Ginobili lulls the bat into a false sense of security by pretending to scratch an itch on his neck. (In fact, that's a total lie. He had no idea where that bat was. Then he reacts and pounces before the bat could fully exit the range of his arms. On his first try. Not even cats can do that. Somewhere in there is why he's in the NBA and you -- and your cat -- are not.)

  • After hitting it, it's down. Stunned, or dead, depending whom you ask. But it's lying there on the court. I'm thinking a lot of people, at this point, would appeal for help, literally not wanting to get their hands dirty. Not Manu. He's over there to finish the job. No hesitation. Picks the little potential-rabies-carrier up, grins, and celebrates. He's no neat freak. (Side note: In May 2008, there was a mouse in Manu Ginobili's laundry in the Spurs' locker room. At the time Mike Monroe quoted Ginobili on MySanAntonio.com saying "I guess I’ve got to do laundry more often.")

  • The hand sanitizer. Honestly, that's what I'd buy stock in these days. For one thing, it's riding a tidal wave of swine flu-induced popularity. But that's not enough. "After saving the whole town from invasion, and with little regard for my own safety," they could have Ginobili saying in the commercial, "just a couple of squirts and I'm on my way, germ-free."