That's why this honor is deserved. Tracy deserves to headline this Hall of Fame class. He deserves this moment in the sun. You have to watch the old games, to really remember. It was a distillation of McGrady, himself a distillation of the game's great scoring and playmaking wings -- one player who took bits from the games of lots of superstars, and combined them to form a totally unique Hall of Famer.
He floated over fools who had no chance to bother his jump shot. He glided through the lane, crouched into traffic, and accelerated suddenly -- almost violently -- through a forest of slower-moving forms, and to the rim. He surveyed the floor from high on the left wing, all of him lording over the game, and zipped perfect pocket passes. Man, Tracy could pass. He made scoring so easy, you sometimes forgot that about him. His best passes had some LeBron in them. I always admired his honesty. He got a little too giddy talking about finally getting to the next round when his Magic needed one more game to close out the Pistons.
He admitted that injuries scared him, and made him feel vulnerable. He was reflective about his decision to leave Toronto early in his career, the what-ifs with Yao, the struggle of riding the bench in San Antonio at the end. He was not afraid to be human, and show weakness. The same candidness makes him great at his new job. We're all lucky to work with him.
AI, T-Mac and Lamar: A Divisive NBA Era Ends All at Once | GQ
Congrats on Springfield, T-Mac! It was only the third episode of The Jump, but it was my debut on ESPN's new daily NBA program, a show that we'd soon discover not only resonated with hoophead fans, but also with players, league execs and others in the business of pro basketball. I sat between Rachel Nichols and Tracy McGrady, and about 30 seconds into the show I received a text message from a prominent player agent detailing what he perceived were the qualifications to be an analyst on The Jump: "Tracy McGrady was one of the greatest basketball playing human beings on the face of the earth There's truth at the core of every joke, and no, I'm not talking about my Twitter habits.
McGrady was a one-of-a-kind talent, a rare blend of size, length, agility, explosion and strength coupled with elite skill and true feel for the game. In many ways, he was ahead of his time; McGrady was made for the brand of positionless basketball that has gripped the modern game. We remember him for his scoring prowess, and rightfully so, but his passing vision and IQ allowed him to make those around him better, and really that was his calling card before his move to Orlando, where the world witnessed his offensive mastery.
Given that T-Mac and I are the same age, but his NBA career on the floor started years before mine in a front office, I have the odd perspective of having watched him as a fan in his early years, an opponent for much of his prime, and finally, as a free-agency prospect in his twilight. I remember his point explosion in the last I remember helping prep the game plan for our Suns teams against the Rockets, where McGrady's ability to attack off the dribble and make plays presented us with a constant struggle in a way that his Hall of Fame teammate Yao Ming didn't.
And finally, I remember scouting McGrady as an Atlanta Hawk at the end of his career, with the hopes of convincing the Suns to go after him in the offseason. I still have my scouting report from that January night in He's fully recovered from his microfracture surgery, and while he will probably never recover his trademark explosiveness, he's still remarkably agile for a guy his size. When he raises up for the jump shot it's basically unguardable, you just have to hope he misses it.
I wonder if he could still score 20 a game if he had the opportunity. Great vision and excellent passer. Did a good job defensively. T-Mac was one of a kind as a player, and he has been one of a kind as a colleague. I'm proud to work with him regularly, now as an official Hall of Famer. We judge these guys by playoff wins first and everything else second. Remember when we kinda sorta felt bad for Kobe after he drove Shaq out of Los Angeles, when the Black Mamba was saddled with the Kwame Browns and Smush Parkers for a couple of years before Pau Gasol miraculously arrived?
Contracts spiraled out of control — in the s, lottery picks were either guaranteed big bucks immediately endangering their incentive to improve , or given three-year outs from their rookie deals giving them too much power at the wrong time of their lives, even if some of them handled it well. And for whatever reason, we had an inordinate amount of incompetent general managers and owners making a staggering number of shortsighted decisions.
And McGrady symbolized it. Out of nowhere, that became one of the biggest draft-day blunders in Celtics history. Ron Mercer over T-Mac? Ron Mercer over T-Mac????????? How much was a budding All-Star worth who had just passed the legal drinking age? Even though the Raptors were building something special, McGrady bolted for seemingly greener pastures in Orlando. We would have regarded him as the Evolutionary Pippen, the 6-foot-8 freak athlete who could do everything that Scottie did … only the dude could get buckets, too. In that order. They finally made up. All these years later, McGrady admits that he should have stayed in Toronto.
Make no mistake — we knew this trade was dreadful even when it happened. T-Mac spent the rest of his prime awkwardly meshing with 7-foot-6 lane-clogger Yao Ming, a wonderful teammate and insanely hard worker who was probably the most overrated good player of that era.
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Howard would have been a much better fit. Poor McGrady never caught a break. Not one. And once his back started betraying him, that was that. Iverson has the Finals. C-Webb has those fantastic Sacramento teams. Kobe and Duncan have nine rings and 12 Finals appearances between them.
Dirk has the MVP and the title.
T-Mac was the original YouTube basketball superstar
Jason Kidd has two straight Finals. Pierce has the playoff run and the Finals MVP. Even Vince has that one unforgettable playoff duel with Iverson. Tracy McGrady? And yet, just two weeks ago, Kobe Bryant told Jimmy Kimmel in front of 5, people that McGrady was his toughest opponent ever. Was that a passive-aggressive dig at LeBron? Did Kobe really mean it? Was it true? Was T-Mac really the most talented player Kobe ever played against? Y ou know how every car wash offers escalating prices for different packages?
You win with guys like this. Age That last season for the Magic doubles as one of the single greatest statistical seasons ever submitted by a modern perimeter player. Total number of rings on that list? So how could someone THAT good not drag a single playoff team to a second round? For his first three Houston seasons, it fell upon coach Jeff Van Gundy to supply that leadership — by default — and as Morey accurately points out, you never want your team drawing its entire personality and toughness from someone wearing a suit.
After Morey fired Van Gundy before the season, new hire Rick Adelman was hoping McGrady would take on a bigger leadership role. So they met with McGrady to tell him that they needed his help. What happened? McGrady politely turned them down. Chuck Hayes???? Ewing still carried a ton of weight for them, obviously.
Kurt Thomas, Charlie Ward, and Chris Childs gave the Knicks a nasty streak, and new arrival Latrell Sprewell brought enough brashness for a man roster. Van Gundy loved coaching them — they would have fought through a wall for him, and for each other, too. And as we were talking, we both realized that it would have been an absolutely perfect team for Tracy McGrady. Tracy was never a leader, but he was a helluva basketball player. If you coached him or coached against him, you would have a much different view. McGrady made people better — he was a great, great passer.
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- TBT: T-Mac scores 13 pts in final 35 seconds.
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