“Can Wives And Girlfriends Travel On The Team Plane?”| Grant Hill On Why The Answer To That One Question Kept Tim Duncan From Joining The Orlando Magic In 2000

Tim Duncan enjoyed a marvelous career with the San Antonio Spurs. One that included five championships and a 1001-391 record without a losing season during his tenure in the Alamo.

The team won at least 60 percent of their games in Duncan’s 19 seasons, a record in the four major sports.

But, prior to Duncan leading a Spurs dynasty, he almost bolted San Antonio for Orlando in 2000, just four seasons into his magnificent career. 

Why Didn’t Tim Duncan Sign With Orlando Magic ?

During an appearance on the “All The Smoke” podcast, Grant Hill, who would’ve been Duncan’s teammate along with Tracy McGrady, forming a championship-level Big 3, said then-head coach Doc Rivers killed the buzz of Duncan to Orlando.

Hill says Rivers may have inadvertently pushed Duncan away from the “Magic Kingdom” with one answer to a question. 

Can Girlfriends And Wives Travel On The Team Plane? 

As the Magic courted Duncan with a dinner that featured Hill and the aforementioned Rivers, the Magic seemed to be in good position to land Duncan. In fact, he and Hill shared the same agent. Hill says that seemed to go down the drain when Duncan’s girlfriend at the time asked a serious question. 

“Can wives and girlfriends travel on the team plane? 

That wasn’t something being done around the league, and Rivers, being an old-school coach with an old-school mentality, quickly responded with this:

“No, it’s a business trip. That doesn’t happen. I don’t allow that.” 

Hill says he didn’t catch the vibe that his wife, R&B songstress Tamia, did after that question was asked. But Hill mentioned she told him at the hotel later that night what had gone wrong.

“‘He ain’t coming. And I say, ‘What do you mean?’ She’s like, ‘When she asked the question, her whole body language changed with that response,’” Hill said.

Tracy McGrady Has The Same Recollection

In past interviews McGrady says the same thing that Hill explained. Doc’s unwillingness to allow wives and girlfriends on the team plane definitely played a factor in missing out on Duncan. 

Doc Rivers Disputes Grant Hill’s Story

Rivers has been adamant over the years that the incident didn’t go like that. He says Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was able to sway Duncan back to San Antonio because he shouldn’t have let him leave Orlando without a deal in place. 

Celtics legend Paul Pierce mentioned a while back that Rivers lightened his stance on that and allowed players’ families and significant others to ride the team plane. He says it’s how the Celtics landed Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007.

If only Rivers had lightened up seven years prior, he’d probably have a seat at the all-time great coaches table with Duncan in the fold.

If that happens, the Magic’s Big 3 likely prevents a Lakers three-peat and collects a couple rings themselves. 

Meaning, Hill and McGrady are not ringless all-time greats to this day either. 

One can only imagine.

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