We've known for a long time that Tim Duncan was almost a member of the Boston Celtics coming out of college (Celtics had the best chance to get the first pick in the draft), but did you know that Tony Parker was also almost a member of the Celtics? That's right, over NBA All-Star Weekend, Parker revealed to Grantland's Bill Simmons (nine minute mark) that he was literally minutes away from being a member of basketball's most storied franchise.
"You have the NBA lady, Chrissy, she comes to me and it was the 19th pick. She gives me a Celtics cap, says 'they're gonna pick you.' And it was like three minutes left on the clock, you know you get five minutes to pick somebody, and the at one minute she comes back and she takes the cap and she's like 'oh no, they changed their mind,' and they took my cap back and I was like 'what?!' and Pop stepped in an drafted me."
One minute away from being a Celtic. Parker went on to explain that he had two workouts for the Celtics and then head coach Jim O'Brien told him they wanted to pick him if the Spurs didn't trade up to get him. He added that O'Brien and then general manager Chris Wallace wanted to draft him, but team president and legend of legends Red Auerbach wanted Joe Forte instead. Simmons then quipped that after that draft was when the Celtics "took the car keys away from Red."
I can't even imagine what 19 year old Tony Parker was thinking. He literally had a Celtic draft hat in his hands and it was taken away. What are we going to find out next, the Celtic almost drafted Manu Ginobili in 1999 but opted for Kris Clack instead? Here's the full interview.