San Antonio Spurs star Manu Ginobili and his wife, Marianela Oroño, have been married since 2004. The couple, who are both from Argentina, have three sons – twins Dante and Nicola, and Luca.
The 39-year-old Ginobili has been on the Spurs since 2002, after being drafted by the team in 1999 and playing professionally in Italy. He won NBA Championships with the Spurs in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. In 2004, he was part of the Argentine team that won the gold medal at the Athens Olympics. In 2008, he won the bronze in Beijing.
Here’s what you need to know about Marianela and the Ginobili family.
1. Marianela Helped Ginobili Launch His Manu Ginobili Foundation in 2006
In 2006, two years after they were married, Ginobili and Marianela launched the Funacion Manu Ginobili (Manu Ginobili Foundation) to help children in Argentina, notes ViaPositiva. His father, Jorge, is also a co-director of the foundation.
One of the foundation’s biggest projects was supporting Mama Margarita House in 2011. According to My San Antonio, the complex is in Ginobili’s hometown, Bahia Blanca and most of the residents are children.
“It’s very important for the children to see that such a big personality who has such world success doesn’t forget about his roots and the local children and people who need a little help,” Nela Agesta, who opened Mama Margarita House, told My San Antonio. “Manu has the sense of family and community. Even when he lives in a different place and is such a big star, he doesn’t forget where his roots are.”
“The goal was just to help out,” Ginobili said in 2011. “I knew I was becoming popular in Argentina. I was starting to feel that some companies in Argentina were wanting to associate with me, so I just wanted to be a facilitator to raise funds and distribute them the way I thought was fair and to institutions that I trusted.”
2. Their Twins’ Names Honor Ginobili’s Part-Italian Heritage
Marianela and Ginobili became parents in May 2010, when twin sons Dante and Nicola were born. According to My San Antonio, their names are references to Ginobili’s part-Italian heritage.
Nicola weighed 5 pounds, 9 ounces at birth and was born at 8:10 a.m. on May 10, 2010. Dante was born two minutes later, weighing 6 pounds, 6 ounces.
After starting his professional career in Argentina, Ginobili moved to Europe in 1998 and played for Basket Viola Reggio Calabria. Italy’s Repubblica notes that members of Ginobili’s family are from the Marches region in Italy. He’s also a dual Argentina-Italian citizen.
“The only thing we’ve told him is, ‘You have no clue how your life is going to change,’” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich told My San Antonio. “And doubly so with twins.”
3. Son Luca Was Born Via C-Section
Son Luca was born on April 21, 2014 during a break in the NBA playoffs. The Associated Press notes that Ginobili even joked about the schedule being made so Ginobili didn’t have to miss a game to be at his son’s birth.
Marianela gave birth via a C-section, which wasn’t scheduled until after the NBA playoffs. Even Popovich was impressed at how quickly Ginobili was back at practice after Luca was born.
“The baby thing is very unique,” Ginobili told the AP. “When I saw that head for the first time I just, it’s hard to contain tears. It’s a pretty incredible moment.”
4. They Put Their Texas Home Up for Sale Because Ginobili Thought it was ‘Time for a Change’
In October 2016, Ginobili scared Spurs fans by putting his Mediterranean-style home in The Dominion, a wealthy San Antonio neighborhood, up for slae for $2 million. It’s still listed on MySA.com, but the price was lowered to $1.795 million.
The home has four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, covering 6,185 square feet. It also has a “private oasis” that includes a pool, pond and spa. Ginobili moved into the home in 2004, just after it was built.
Ginobili later told the San Antonio Express-News that he just wanted to make a change.
“I wanted to sell it. I wanted to change houses,” Ginobili told the Express-News. “People do that all the time. I stayed in that house for 12 years. I thought it was time for a change.”
Ginobili signed a one-year, $14 million deal before the 2016-2017 season started and said he’s still not sue if he will retire as a Spur. He might even leave the U.S. and play elsewhere.
“But I am just not going to leave San Antonio and never come back. But I don’t see myself as the type of guy who is going to stay 12 months in one place. I will go back and forth,” Ginobili told the Express-News.
5. The Couple Met in 1997, While Ginobili Was Still Playing in Argentina
Argentina’s El Notre reported in 2014 that the couple met in 1997, while Ginobili was playing for Estudiantes de Bahía Blanca, his hometown team, in Argentina. During an afternoon off, Ginobili met Marianela through friends and exchanged phone numbers. They remained in touch, even while Ginobili played in Italy, and they have been together ever since.
In an interview with the San Antonio Express-News, Ginobili said having a family has helped him understand that there’s more to life than just basketball. He explained:
At the beginning, you just calm down a little bit, and basketball ceases to be as important, or the main thing in your head,” Ginobili said. “With the years, it starts to be an even bigger gap. How much they depend on you, how much they look up to you. I think it’s a process because, in my case, I started my professional career in 1996, so it was 14 years of being a pro without them. So my head was all basketball, basketball, basketball. So when that happened, I slowly started to detach from that and become more of a dad than a player. It wasn’t automatic, but it happened.