Ginobili’s EuroStep

60000698During L.A.’s impressive 92-83 victory in San Antonio on Wednesday night, we were reminded of something we’ve known for years: watching Manu Ginobili play basketball is fun.

The Argentinean-bred All-Star has a style that’s really unlike that of any other NBA player, and his most notable move is the “EuroStep.” Let’s try a rough description in words: an extra change of direction where one steps in one direction with one foot and the other with the opposite foot to culminate a dribble move to the basket once the ball has already been picked up (you can watch by CLICKING HERE). That work? Kind of?

Before the game, I asked Phil Jackson if the EuroStep could be taught to other players or if it was a more instinctive move, noting how good Ginobili is at executing it. Here’s what Jackson had to say:

There is a certain kind of a move that was brought by the European players to the NBA and that’s picking the dribble up and taking the extra step, and they don’t count that as a step (for a travel). A lot of European players* have really done a great job with it and Ginobili is probably the best because he can change directions on his drive with the ball off the floor in his hands. Kobe has messed around with it. We’ve had a number of guys mess around with it and try to get after it, but (Ginobili) is the best.

*Obviously, Jackson’s aware that Ginobili is from Argentina, but he played professional ball in Italy, where he was a star.

Makes sense. We also had a chance to speak with Ginobili about it before the game, after he got through a series of shooting drills, to clarify:

MT: How did your version of the EuroStep start?
Ginobili: I really don’t know when it started. But I know that nobody taught it to me. I found it naturally while trying to get to the rim. It just happened.

MT: Phil Jackson said that you were the best in the league at it, but it seems like more and more players are trying to add it to their game. Who else do you notice specifically:
Ginobili: I think Dwyane Wade has an unbelievable one because of his strength. He is able to go up after it, which is not easy. I usually go to the sides, but he can go to the side and up. The thing is, I usually don’t have to the strength to go up after (the hop).

MT: Kind of like on a triple jump, it gets harder with each step?
Ginobili: Yes, something like that. Wade is impressive because of his athletic ability. That’s the one I see.

MT: Your teammate Tony Parker has a nice Euro step too, right? Did you teach him?
Ginobili: Tony does it great. I didn’t teach him, but he developed it (in San Antonio). But he doesn’t have that extra (burst), he does it with speed.

MT: Jordan Farmar told me that he’ll sometimes get called for a travel when doing it and sometimes not. Do you ever consider it a travel?
Ginobili: I don’t know, I don’t even think about it. I’ve gotten called a few times, but it’s not something that’s going to affect the way I do it because I don’t think I travel. The times I get called, it’s not even close.

After the EuroStep convo, we snuck a question in about whether or not L.A. was to Ginobili the clear favorite in the West:

Ginobili: Yes. The most steady, the deepest. Dallas and Denver have had great seasons, but you’ll see them have (bad) losses. I think the Lakers are the best in terms of talent, size, and athleticism. But you can get one on the road and anything can happen … they can be beaten, but they’ve been the best. At this point, we’re not there yet. We’ve been so up and down.

Our next chance to see Ginobili’s EuroStep comes on April 4 at STAPLES Center.