Tracy McGrady: T-Mac


Born in Bartow, Florida on May 24, 1979, one of this generation’s most skilled basketball players came to be. Tracy McGrady was an athlete that not many knew coming out of high school. He didn’t have the reputation of Kobe Bryant or Lebron James. He grew up playing baseball and high school basketball at a relatively smaller school called Auburndale High School, in Florida. He would then transfer to Mount Zion Christian Academy in his senior year, in North Carolina. Before going to the Academy, he made his name known at the Adidas ABCD Camp. That camp made him the number 175 best player to number 1 in the nation. This camp would start of what was to come of McGrady’s career.

At Mount Zion Christian Academy, the basketball team was booming as rank in as the number two ranked team in the country. Tracy went from being a nobody to being the head of a top-ranked team in the nation. The accolades that came for him were being named a McDonald’s All American, National Player of the Year by USA Today, and North Carolina’s Mr. Basketball by the Associated Press. After playing basketball at Mount Zion, McGrady had to make a huge decision. He had the opportunity to attend a top-ranked school of the University of Kentucky, or go pro. He was pronounced to be a lottery pick so he decided to take his chances and follow in the footsteps of Kobe Bryant and go pro out of high school.

Tracy’s NBA career would begin as a Toronto Raptor when he would be selected ninth overall in the draft. At the beginning of the season, McGrady would receive little playing time under head coach Darrell Walker. Late in the season, Walker would resign, and the Raptors would bring in Butch Carter. Carter agreed to increase McGrady’s minutes as long as he would improve his work ethic. The next season the Raptors would make a huge move and bring in Tracy McGrady’s distant cousin, Vince Carter. The two of them together would bring out a whole new level of athleticism to the NBA. With the great number of minutes that McGrady was finally getting, he was a contender for winning Sixth Man of the Year. The Raptors would go on to make the playoffs and get swept by the New York Knicks.

The Following year McGrady would become a free agent, where he would overall decide to sign with the Orlando Magic. He decided to join the Magic because he wanted to return home, as well as he didn’t like his role with the Raptors as a secondary to his cousin Vince Carter. During the 00-01 season, McGrady took up the role of being a leader on the team and became one of the best basketball players in the NBA. He would then get himself into his first All-Star game. That year he also made the All-NBA Second Team, as well as being named the NBA’s Most Improved Player. The next year would follow the same as the last, making himself an NBA All-Star, as well as this time he was named to the All-NBA First Team instead. The next year could be arguably one of McGrady’s best years of basketball. He ranked fourth in the Most Valuable Player running. They had a tough go around in the playoffs though as they would lose in a game seven to the Detroit Pistons. The next season would be a tough one for the Magic as they would finish with the worst record in the East Conference. McGrady however, plays exceptionally well as he would gain his second consecutive scoring title.

The next season, the Magic would make a blockbuster trade. They would trade Tracy McGrady, Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines to the Houston Rockets for Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley, and Kelvin Cato. This would not displease McGrady as he showed the excitement of getting the chance to play with the 7-6 Center from China Yao Ming. The team started out struggling but would still make the playoffs, where they would lose in a game six to the Dallas Mavericks. The next season would be just as disappointing, McGrady would only play in 47 games as he suffered from an injury. He did still manage to make the All-Star team, but the team failed to make the playoffs. Yao Ming would have a breakout year and would help the Rockets to make the playoffs. They would fall short though to the Utah Jazz, losing in seven games. The next season would be great for the Rockets as they would go on a 22 game win streak thanks to the leadership of McGrady. They would once again get the opportunity to play the Jazz again, but would overall lose. Following the loss to the Jazz, McGrady would undergo arthroscopic surgery, which would change the way he played forever. The Rockets would still flourish as they would win in the first round of the playoffs and then would push the future champion Lakers to a game 7.

After a couple of rough years, Tracy McGrady would be traded to the New York Knicks as part of a three-way trade. He started well with the Knicks but signed with the Pistons next year. The season after that he would be apart of the Atlanta Hawks organization. After a rough couple of seasons, he would take his talents to the Chinese Basketball Association, where he would play for the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles. He would finish his time in the CBA and would get his number retired by the DoubleStar Eagles. After the CBA he would make his final destination would the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs would go on to play the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals but would fall short of the win. On August 26, 2013, Tracy McGrady would attend an episode of ESPN’s First Take, where he would announce his retirement.

Tracy McGrady would go on to have an amazing career with basketball, some of his accolades would be an Olympic athlete and medalist, 7x NBA All-Star, 2x All-NBA First Team, 2x scoring champion, NBA Most Improved Player, and a Hall of Famer. All in all, T-Mac would go down as one of the most exciting basketball players of all time.

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