Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Duncan is a Hall-of-Famer, five-time NBA Champion, and is widely regarded as the best power-forward to ever play. But he also has another stat that makes him unique: consistency.

See, Duncan is part of a rare group of legends who’ve stayed one place for their entire career. In Duncan’s case, it was 19 long seasons.

What people don’t know, however, is that Duncan came close to leaving the Spurs back in 2000. In fact, many people called it a “done deal.” This all started on Wednesday night, when former Spur, Bruce Bowen (who was also calling the game at the time), revealed a shocking story on national television.

“One thing Gregg Popovich didn’t do was screw it up with Tim Duncan. I remember when Tim was a free agent, he was thinking about going to Orlando when Doc was there. … When Tim went out to meet with Orlando, he asked, ‘can family come on the flights to some games?’ From what I understand, Doc said no, and that’s when he lost Tim Duncan”

Considering how things are now, this is pretty shocking news. The Orlando Magic could have had a brilliant cast of stars in Duncan, Grant Hill, and Tracy McGrady while avoiding a reputation of misfortune. Obviously, they missed their chance and would feel its effects for years to come.

And Doc Rivers, who many regard as one of the best coaches of today, was apparently a big part of that. His basketball mind o the floor cannot be questioned, but his decision making behind the scenes? Considering this story, and the Clippers’ current state, that’s something much more in doubt.

Who knows why Doc wouldn’t let Tim Duncan’s family ride the team bus. But if there’s one thing we learned from this interesting story, it’s that even the smallest things can change the fate of a franchise. Oh, and you never say “No” to Tim Duncan, that’s an important one too.

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