In the last hours, the death of a man who was decisive in the beginning of the sports career of Manu Ginobili. Former American basketball player Grant Gondrezick He died last Thursday, January 7, at the age of 57 for causes that are still unknown.
Known as Gondo, was born on January 19, 1963 in the city of Boulder, Colorado. He stood out as a player at Pepperdine University until 1986 when he was chosen by the Phoenix Suns in position 77 of the second round of the NBA Draft. Quickly, its impact was negative: had legal and drug addiction problems.
The scandals he starred in led to his expulsion from the system and he was confined for a season in French Caen, in addition to negotiating the sentence with the Justice and simply having to pay a fine after being found guilty of manipulating a witness. After spending a year in France, he returned to the best basketball league in the world and joined Los Angeles Clippers in what was his last time in the NBA.
From this experience, he began to be a globetrotter of his sport: he played in leagues in Belgium, Italy and Spain until he landed in Argentina and wore the jersey of Bahía Blanca students. That’s where He met Ginobili and, thanks to his speech, he changed the head of the Bahian that years later he would become the third Argentine to make the jump to the NBA.
It was Manu himself a decade ago who, in a talk TED, gave indications of the value that a dialogue with Gondrezick had when both shared a team in the National League to give him the final impulse and become aware that he could be an important piece in the most relevant basketball on the planet.
“There were vestiges or things that indicated that I could become a very good National League player, but nothing more. The following year I return to Bahía Blanca. There is a key moment in that year, which is a talk with a foreigner who played with me and had been in the NBA for two or three years. He sat me down and told me: ‘You have to go to the United States, to study at a university in the United States, that if you go and spend four years there, you’ll end up in the NBA.’ I looked at him as saying ‘impossible’, he wants to be my friend or something, and he tells me to motivate me or make me feel good“Ginobili recalled and positioned it as the core of his mental transformation to become the player he was.
In dialogue with Infobae some time ago, Daniel Rodriguez, Manu’s former coach in Argentina, referred to Gondrezick’s influence on the thinking of the four-time NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs: “Grant had been a former NBA, a 1.96-meter forward, very strong, very handsome, very brave to play. This boy, who was not silly at all and had extensive experience in international basketball and the NBA, He also began to realize that the kids who had that team were serious, important things. Especially Manu. He started a bit to insist that Manu go to an American College. He said that if Manu had the chance to enter there, he would open the doors for something very important. And he began to insist a lot with that; And on top of that Grant was heavy! ”Zeta recounted.
After he played only 16 games in the Argentine National League, including a key one that allowed Estudiantes to save themselves from relegation thanks to a fantastic task in which he added 42 points and captured 15 rebounds to beat Deportivo Roca, Grant had some other excursions until he retired from the discipline and became a coach. It was in this position that he starred in one of his latest scandals: in 2009 he faced a new indictment and pleaded guilty in a mortgage fraud case that involved the sale of 24 homes in Houston.
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