Three years into his NBA career, Tim Duncan considered ditching the San Antonio Spurs for the Orlando Magic. His team was aging—David Robinson and Avery Johnson were 35, and Mario Elie was 37—and Orlando was coming off a surprising 41-41 season and hoping to land three in-their-prime superstars at once: Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill, and Duncan.
They got two out of the three, and Duncan, the third, mulled it over for days before eventually returning to San Antonio—which we’re comfortable with labeling a good call at this point in time.
Why didn’t Duncan jump conferences? For a while, the rumor was that it was because the Magic wouldn’t let Duncan bring his significant other on the team plane.
Almost 18 years later, Grant Hill confirmed the story on ESPN’s “The Jump,” and it damn near destroyed the soul of McGrady, also on hand; neither player won an NBA championship in their respective careers despite making a combined 14 All-Star Games.
Grant Hill just admitted that Doc Rivers blew the Tim Duncan signing with Orlando when he said spouses weren’t allowed on the team plane.
T-Mac is STILL sick about it after all these years pic.twitter.com/eojBGAxffs
— #Mickstape (@MickstapeShow) February 15, 2018
“I made my visit with Tim Duncan and I was at the dinner when someone in Tim’s entourage, I’ll just leave it that way, asked [Magic head coach Doc Rivers], ‘Can significant others can travel on the plane?’ And Doc said no,” Hill said. “And the energy at the table … my wife, we were married then, my wife was like, ‘He should have just lied, he should have said yes.'”