Horace Grant's spat with Doc Rivers during the 2002 season likely is No. 3 overall in Magic coach-player spats. There have been a few nasty ones and this one slips under the radar because Grant was not the player he once was and the Magic were not really going anywhere. I mean, Patrick Ewing was on the Magic that year.
Orlando brought Grant in to be the veteran leader on a young team with a blossoming Tracy McGrady. Grant had offers from other teams but came to Orlando to repay the favor Pat Williams gave him in awarding him his richest contract in his career. Not to mention Grant was a catalyst for getting the Magic over the hump and into serious contention in 1995 and 1996.
Horace Grant now is part of the NBA's promotional team for NBA JAM, a three-on-three tournament in India that reaches New Delhi on Friday. The league is doing more promotional work in India hoping to grow the game there. This tournament is part of laying that foundation in that endeavor.
Grant went public though to Rohan Puri of The Times of India about what happened between him and Doc Rivers before he was ultimately waived in December of 2002.
To set things up, Doc Rivers, then the Magic's head coach, implied Grant was a "cancer" for the team. It was an ugly situation especially after everything Grant sacrificed to return to Orlando (Grant later signed with the Lakers to win one more title in 2003). Grant reacted negatively and found himself off the team shortly afterward.
"When you are attacked, you react in a certain way. Looking back at that, I should not have acted in the manner I did as I was one of the veterans in the team and guys were looking up to me. He was a young coach and I was an old veteran. We talked about it, shook hands and apologized to each other for my reacting to some of his comments. It was a total misunderstanding."
It is good to hear that the two came together shortly afterward and moved on. Grant should be expected back in Orlando at some point to celebrate the Magic's 25th Anniversary. Grant can already be seen on billboards around town in the background to photos of Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless.
NBA JAM in India is a three-on-three basketball competition with players from around the country. The hope is to build excitement and some notoriety for the sport. The infrastructure for basketball in India still needs a lot of improvement.
Horace Grant, along with Peja Stojakovic and Ron Harper, are part of the NBA's promotional team. The winners of the tournament will get the chance to go up against these NBA veterans in a 3-on-3 game.
The tour has been going on since early September and they stop in New Delhi beginning Friday before ending the trip in Mumbai.