August 26th, 2013 by John Kim
One undisputable fact: for one prolonged stretch in the early-mid 2000’s, Tracy McGrady was the single best player in the NBA. Some will argue that he and fellow High-schooler Kobe Bryant were 1a and 1b, but T-Mac had all of the scoring prowess, athleticism, and pure talent as Kobe did, only the Mac was three inches taller and arguably more explosive. In 2000, the legend of McGrady was set to begin as he was expected to assume the role of either Jordan or Pippen, depending on what Grant Hill decided to be. During that 2000 offseason, Orlando managed to wipe out the memories of losing Penny and Shaq by adding T-Mac and Hill in the same year – a formidable duo that would surely be able to bang with the best in the West. Sadly, Hill’s career took a sharp turn due to an injury, and T-Mac was left alone in a laughable roster of names that even MJ may not have been able to win with.
T-Mac got double and triple-teamed in every possession, and still won two straight scoring titles. He dropped 50 against the Nuggets, and still lost. He willed the team to above-.500 records, but never made any noise in the Playoffs, earning T-Mac the embarrassing “The Second Round Virgin” nickname. In 2004, he went to Houston to pair up with Yao Ming, but compounding injuries left T-Mac as a shell of his former self – albeit very effective on the offensive end. Eventually, age and injuries caught up to T-Mac and he went down the road that all fading stars go through (play on the bench, play for the Knicks, play for a Chinese team). T-Mac’s stardom was definitely one of the most tumultuous ones in the history of the league – so much that many forget his lifetime contract with adidas and his six signature shoes. We’ll walk through each one, detailing some notable highlights that have come forth with each of ’em on-feet.
Tags: Tracy McGrady