Legend George “The Iceman” Gervin of the San Antonio Spurs had to isolate in the River City after his contract was sold by the Virginia Squire of the ABA.
Back in 1974, the San Antonio Spurs were a part of the American Basketball Association, a less successful competitor to the NBA that eventually folded and combined its teams with the greater power of the league we know today. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for teams to buy contracts from each other, which was the case with the Spurs, who bought George Gervin‘s deal from the Virginia Squires.
This story resurfaced recently because of the bizarre nature of the deal that forced Gervin to quarantine in a hotel in San Antonio while he waited for the deal to go through.
Many of the gritty details of the deal weren’t revealed, but at the baseline, the agreement wasn’t fully decided upon and for the next month, former Spurs owner Angelo Drossos fought with Squires owner Earl Foreman for the rights to Gervin’s deal. This forced a sophomore Gervin into a peculiar situation during which he had to stay in his hotel room for an entire month.
“I was going crazy!”
Due to complications with his contract, George ‘Iceman’ Gervin had to go through his own quarantine at the beginning of his career in San Antonio! pic.twitter.com/gJdBr7Ujpj
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 27, 2020
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Upon the initial agreement of the deal, Gervin’s agent sent the young star to San Antonio to get started with his Spurs career. However, the legal dispute forced him to stay away from the Spurs’ facilities, constraining him to hang around San Antonio without getting back to work.
The sum in question was $225,000, which wouldn’t cover the first season of a rookie deal in today’s NBA. However, this was a big deal back in the day because the Squires were in dire need of cash and had been getting rid of star players left and right to make back the money. They even went as far as to trade the great Julius Erving to the New York Nets before their move to New Jersey.
That’s right, the Virginia Squires could’ve had a power duo of Gervin and Erving to dominate the ABA at the height of their powers. This wouldn’t come to fruition as the Spurs eventually settled this issue and Gervin became the greatest player in franchise history until the era of David Robinson and later, Tim Duncan.
Something like this would never take place in modern sports as most discrepancies are settled by higher-ups of the league, but players are currently forced to stay away from their teams and quarantine at home for greater forces beyond their control.