EVEN IF you marveled at Manu Ginobili's versatility in the Western Conference semis--he had 39 points in one win over the SuperSonics, seven key assists in another--you can see still more sides of him at www.manuginobili.com, his bilingual (Spanish-English) website. The 27-year-old Roberto Benigni look-alike created the site for fans in his native Argentina when he played in Italy in 1999. These days it draws more than 4,000 hits per week, and an Italian version is in the works. "The idea is for fans to send material, write their own articles and be part of this rather than the audience," says Mariano Larranaga, a friend of Ginobili's who runs the site. Writing in the fansNews section, one Texas fan recalled the Sunday morning she prepared to meet "Gino" at an appearance last year: "I found it hard to focus in church," she said. "I had forgotten that only the very first to arrive would receive an autograph. I was sure this was going to happen to me. I had fate on my side." (She got one.) Ginobili provides personal information (favorite dog: mastiff) and pictures from his July '04 wedding to Marianela Orono. He visits the chat room, where he gets blunt opinions. ("You should consider having a hair cut now!!" wrote one fan.) He also writes articles for the site, and Steve Nash, whose Suns are facing the Spurs in the playoffs, may find it interesting to see what Ginobili wrote recalling this year's All-Star weekend: "When our masseuse took care of Nash ... I requested to her that she tighten his leg, and twist him hard.... Just joking, obviously."
COURTESY OF WWW.MANUGINOBILI.COM (WEBSITE)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (GINOBILI)
APPLE/GETTY IMAGES (COMPUTER)