REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson UNITED STATES

Remember that time NBA legend Tim Duncan almost signed for the Orlando Magic back in 2000?

Duncan — who has even stated it himself — was extremely close to signing a deal to join up with Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill in Orlando back in the early 2000’s and would’ve formed a formidable opponent to the Los Angeles Lakers string of dominance between 2000 and 2003.

But according to Duncan’s former Spurs teammate and lockdown defender Bruce Bowen, things were even closer than we first thought. So close, in fact, everything had been organized except for The Big Fundamental’s signature on the contract. That is until Magic coach at the time Doc Rivers denied a simple Duncan request.

So because Rivers didn’t want Duncan’s family on the team’s private plane, he banished the Magic to years of terrible records up until 2009 when Dwight Howard was hitting his physical prime.

Here’s Bruce Bowen explaining it in full during the Clippers game against the Phoenix Suns:

In hindsight however, River’s denial of Duncan‘s request to bring his family on board the team plane may have been Timmy’s saving grace for his career, as both McGrady and Hill would become extremely injury prone for the rest of their careers, leaving the Magic high and dry by 2004. If Duncan did end up making the move to Orlando, who knows how his career would’ve panned out without the other two parts of the planned big three alongside him.

For all we know, Duncan could have very well become the modern day Patrick Ewing, stewing away in Orlando with no help despite his immense talent, and may have finished his career with only one title back in 1999 with the Spurs.

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