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Monday, June 18, 2018

Spurs’ Big Three flew commercial on infamous flight because of plane problems

Gregg PopovichNBA fans won’t forget the infamous November night when the San Antonio Spurs royally ticked off commissioner David Stern by sending their top three players home from a road trip the day of their huge, nationally-televised game at the Miami Heat. The game was appropriately hyped up by TNT because it featured two of the best teams in the league. It even turned out to be a preview of the NBA Finals.

Until now, I didn’t know that the four Spurs players were actually supposed to fly home on a private plane the night before the game, not on a commercial plane the day of, which enhanced the perception that they were really trying to stick it to Stern.

Dan McCarney of SpursNation.com shared those details in an article he wrote on Wednesday.

Danny Green, who flew home with Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan, told McCarney that the four players were supposed to go home on Wednesday night after their 110-89 win over the Orlando Magic. Green says there were some plane problems that prevented them from leaving that night.

“We were on the plane,” Green told McCarney. “But we didn’t move anywhere. We were just looking at some things, trying to clean it out and they found out … it wasn’t safe to take off in that plane.

“And they checked out the next earliest flight, it was commercial. We didn’t purposely go Southwest the next day to let everyone know we weren’t going to play. The plan was supposed to be getting back the night before so we could have more rest. Obviously it didn’t work out the way we wanted to.”

So this wasn’t some improvised plan put together by Pop the morning of the game.

The Spurs have a habit of sitting players during the regular season, so Green says they weren’t expecting a reaction.

“At the time, it wasn’t as funny, especially when we got the fine,” Green told Spurs Nation. “But afterward, looking back at it, it’s one of the things you go through. We saw a lot of you guys (media) at the airport. At that point, we knew it was going to be a big deal.”

We’ll never really know how intentional Pop’s actions were, but this at least makes him look slightly better. I’m also guessing the $250,000 fine from the league helped teach the team a lesson.

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