Manu Ginobili's play on the basketball court was often out of this world and on Thursday the Argentine great's San Antonio Spurs jersey was just that as the NBA had it sent into space with a zero-pressure balloon.
In recognition of Ginobili's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, an autographed, black No. 20 Ginobili jersey took off from Burgos, Spain, and reached more than 30 kilometres (18.64 miles) in height where it remained for about four hours.
The voyage was done with the support of B2Space, a firm that specializes in near space testing, and footage of the tribute was used as social media content for NBA Latin America channels.
"We decided to take Manu Ginobili's jersey to space to recognize everything he's done for the game of basketball in Latin America and sports as a whole," said Emilio Garcia Duarte, associate vice president, head of marketing for NBA Latin America.
"On the heels of his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, his legacy has reached new heights and we thought this was a unique way to celebrate this tremendous honour."
Ginobili is one of the most decorated international players in basketball history having won four NBA titles during a 16-season run with the Spurs and an Olympic gold medal.
A second round draft pick of the Spurs in 1999, Ginobili played in 1,057 games, averaging 13.3 points and 3.8 assists and helped the Spurs to championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014.
Ginobili was also part of the Argentina team that became the first national squad to deny American professionals Olympic gold when he led his country past Team USA in the 2004 Athens semi-finals en route to winning the tournament.
The 45-year-old Ginobili was enshrined into the Springfield, Massachusetts-based Hall of Fame last month as part of a 13-member Class of 2022.
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