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”We might not want to grab him” - Kevin Willis says Tim Duncan and David Robinson hesitated to throw him into a pool when he first arrived in San Antonio

Former San Antonio Spurs center Kevin Willis recalled his hilarious and epic first meeting with Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, center David Robinson and center Kevin Willis

Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Kevin Willis

Given the level of physicality in the past eras, not many NBA players reached twenty years in the league. However, Kevin Willis defied that logic as he lasted almost 21 years in the NBA. And what’s even more interesting, Willis was able to stay in tremendous shape until his final game.

Epic first meeting with the Twin Towers

In 2002, Willis, at 40 years old, landed a contract with the San Antonio Spurs. The first thing he did when he arrived in San Antonio was to join the team’s one-hour drive away from the city to attend a social gathering hosted by Spurs owner Peter Holt.

At the party, Willis finally met his new teammates, primarily Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, and David Robinson.

I met these guys and they were all cool and laughing,” Willis told NBA.com. “It was a great time. I could feel the harmony there.

According to “Devo,” the event was held at the ranch of Holt’s home. The place was “beautiful”, and there was “a river flowing through it that you could actually get in and swim.” Everybody was having such a great time, and at one point, Willis said that Duncan and Robinson got a bit crazy and were thinking of throwing him into a pool.

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However, the “Twin Towers” could outright tell that Willis was still pumping bench presses in the gym despite his age. Willis said he knew Timmy and “The Admiral” realized that tossing a 7-footer with a “swole” physique was easier said than done. So they call the prank off.

They were trying to decide if they should try to grab me and throw me in the water,” Willis recounted. “I was in tip-top shape. I was swole. They said, ‘We might not want to grab him’ [laughter].

Championship season

Willis knew that he was already in his twilight years when he joined the Spurs, so he had one thing in mind heading into his debut season with San Antonio- a championship.

After all the fun, Willis decided to have an emotional moment at the said party. He “sat on a rock for about 15 minutes” and “broke down” as he “started to pray.”

I asked God to allow me to give this team what I had from within,” Willis recalled. “After I said the prayer, I broke into tears. I said, ‘This is the year I’m going to win the championship.’”

Willis’ prayer was answered, and he finally copped his first championship in his maiden season with the Spurs. Did Duncan and Robinson try to throw Willis in the water again while celebrating their championship? We may never know.

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