Tim Duncan‘s legendary career came to an elegant close with the big #21 stamped on only one uniform — that of the win machine called the San Antonio Spurs. But the tale was almost much different, according to Mike Bianchi at The Orlando Sentinel. (Bianchi’s life as a hoops reporter would have been much different, too, if Duncan had slipped away to the Orlando Magic back in 2000 — a real possibility that, thankfully for NBA fans, never came to fruition.) Duncan was about to re-sign with the Spurs when the Magic came calling, hoping to put Timmy and Grant Hill in Magic uniforms and dominate the East. Hill bought the Disney-like promise of Orlando and signed, but Duncan stayed with the Spurs and made his own two decades of magic.
Bianchi unearths a great tale about how Orlando really may have won Duncan’s heart on his resplendent recruiting trip — Tiger Woods tried to help, Mickey Mouse, the fireworks, the kitchen sink. But they apparently didn’t realize how attached Duncan’s heart was at the time to that of his girlfriend Amy Sherrill, who would soon become his wife. (Tim and Amy married, then divorced in 2013.) Amy apparently didn’t go for the Magic’s recruiting magic the way Tim did. She balked at the move and with her balk came Duncan’s legendary Spurs loyalty. There ought maybe to be a statue of Sherrill somewhere in San Antonio.