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A Hero in Hiding
CHRIS BALLARD
November 08, 2004
As an Olympic idol and the highest-paid athlete in Argentina, the Spurs' Manu Ginobili is an inspiration to his people, but an object of extreme--sometimes dangerous--scrutiny
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November 08, 2004

A Hero In Hiding

As an Olympic idol and the highest-paid athlete in Argentina, the Spurs' Manu Ginobili is an inspiration to his people, but an object of extreme--sometimes dangerous--scrutiny

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That is in the future, though. For now, on this crisp September day in Bah´┐Ża Blanca, Ginobili is enjoying the present. Sitting on his parents' couch, he talks about the Olympics, rising regularly to answer the door. In the kitchen his mother cooks and his wife chats on a cellphone. Even though Ginobili had a two-story brick house built in a gated community across town, he is more often at his parents' place. "I want to enjoy my time here, which means spending time with my family and my friends, late-night dinners, talking to 4 a.m.," Ginobili says. "The only way to do that is at my home, my friends' home. That is why I don't go out."

Here Manu can be one of the family, falling into familiar routines. For him it is an escape--from the media demands, from the eager fans, from the security men parked outside. For just a little while longer, before he heads back to San Antonio for another season, he can be just Manu. The expectations of a nation will have to wait.

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