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Tracy McGrady

Tracy Lamar McGrady, Jr. (born May 24, 1979) is an American retired professional basketball player who played professionally in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is a seven-time NBA All-Star, seven-time All-NBA selection, and a two-time NBA scoring champion (2003–2004). McGrady played as a swingman.

McGrady entered the NBA straight from high school after being selected in the 1997 NBA draft with the ninth overall pick in the first round by the Toronto Raptors. He played in the NBA for the Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, and San Antonio Spurs. He also played for the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles of the Chinese Basketball Association. In 2013, after the Spurs lost that year's NBA Finals he announced his retirement from the NBA.

McGrady was ranked #75 on SLAM Magazine's "Top 75 Players of All-Time" in 2003. McGrady's style of play has been compared to that of George Gervin.[2]Kobe Bryant has cited Tracy McGrady as the toughest player he ever played against.[3]

 

 

Early life and education

Tracy Lamar McGrady, Jr. was born in Bartow, Florida. He played high school basketball and baseball[4] at Auburndale High School in Auburndale, Florida for three years. He then transferred to Mount Zion Christian Academy, in Durham, North Carolina. McGrady created a national buzz after his performance in the Adidas ABCD Camp, where the best high school players in the U.S. are invited annually. He was named High School Player of the Year by USA Today.

McGrady was an NBA high school draftee.

Professional career

Toronto Raptors (1997–2000)

McGrady was selected with the ninth overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in the 1997 NBA draft.[5] For most of the 1997–98 season, he received little playing time, averaging only 13 minutes per game under coach Darrell Walker.[6] McGrady has described his rookie year as "hell", feeling lonely in Toronto and sleeping for up to 20 hours a day.[7] Late in the season, Walker resigned and McGrady began playing more under new coach Butch Carter on the condition that McGrady improve his work ethic.[6]

Before the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season, the Raptors drafted McGrady's distant cousin Vince Carter. The two became inseparable;[8] teammate Dee Brown once said, "They say they're cousins... But Siamese twins is more like it."[10] By the 1999–00 season, the duo had developed a reputation for their athleticism, giving memorable performances at the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest.[7] McGrady, now playing significant minutes, was a contender for the Sixth Man of the Year Award before being elevated to Toronto's starting backcourt in late March.[11] Behind McGrady and Carter's play, the Raptors finished the season with a 45-37 record, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.[7][2] For the year, McGrady averaged 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and a career-high 1.9 blocks per game.[5] In the first round of the postseason, the Raptors were swept by the New York Knicks.[2]

Orlando Magic (2000–04)

After the 2000 Playoffs, McGrady became a free agent, signing a six-year, $67.5 million contract with the Orlando Magic.[13] He elected to join the Magic in part because he disliked his secondary role playing behind Vince Carter,[14] in part so that he could return home to Florida, and in part to play with their other newly acquired free agent, Grant Hill.[15] Hill would play in only four games during the 2000–01 season and 47 games total throughout his tenure with the team,[16] forcing McGrady into a larger leadership and scoring role than anticipated. Defying the expectations of many,[17] he emerged as one of the best players in the NBA, with Milwaukee Bucks General Manager Ernie Grunfeld going so far as to call him "one of the top five talents in the league".[13] McGrady's play earned him his first All-Star Game appearance, and with final averages of 26.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game, he was selected to his first All-NBA Team, being named to the All-NBA Second Team.[5] He was also voted the league's Most Improved Player.[14] With a 43-39 record, the Magic entered the playoffs as the East's seventh seed, matched up with the Bucks.[18] In Game 3 of the series, McGrady notched 42 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists, a performance that Bill Simmons later called "his superstar audition tape".[17] Orlando was eliminated by the Bucks in four games.[19]

For the 2001–02 season, McGrady averaged 25.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game, earning his second All-NBA Team selection, this time to the All-NBA First Team.[5] The Magic were again ousted in the first round of the playoffs, losing in four games to the Charlotte Hornets.[20] In the 2002–03 season, McGrady won his first scoring title and, with averages of 32.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game, became one of nine players in NBA history to achieve a 30 player efficiency rating (PER) in a single season.[5][2] In the playoffs, McGrady made headlines when he prematurely assumed that Orlando were guaranteed to advance to the second round after establishing a 3-1 lead over the Detroit Pistons, replying in an interview, "It feels good to get in the second round."[2] Despite holding the series lead, the Magic lost the series in seven games.[2]

The 2003–04 season was a tumultuous year for McGrady; Magic coach Doc Rivers was fired after a 1-10 start to the year and there were reports of friction between McGrady and Orlando General Manager John Weisbrod.[13][2] Throughout the season, Orlando struggled because of a series of injuries, finishing the year with the worst record in the East despite McGrady winning his second consecutive scoring title.[5][2] Late in the season, McGrady scored a career-high 62 points in a winning effort versus the Washington Wizards.[2] His final averages were 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game.[5]

Houston Rockets (2004–10)

On June 29, 2004, McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue, and Reece Gaines were traded to the Houston Rockets in a seven-player deal that sent Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley, and Kelvin Cato to the Magic. Initially viewed as a fair trade, it has come to be seen as one of the more lopsided trades in NBA history. McGrady would play in several All-Star games as a Rocket; Orlando traded Francis after less than two seasons.[2]

In his first year with the Rockets, McGrady teamed with 7'6" centerYao Ming to form one of the more potent duos in the Western Conference. They started slowly, struggling to find a point guard to complement McGrady's skill set in the backcourt until Bob Sura returned from a calf injury. The Rockets traded Lue for Jon Barry for 3-point shooting off the bench. The Rockets also acquired David Wesley from the Hornets to bolster their backcourt defense, particularly on smaller guards. With these new trades, McGrady was moved to SF, with a starting lineup of Bob Sura, David Wesley, Juwan Howard, and Yao Ming. The Rockets then ran the offense through McGrady, used the inside game of Yao, and used the perimeter game of Howard's baseline jumper and 3-point shooting effectively. On December 9, 2004, McGrady scored 13 points in the last 35 seconds of a game against the San Antonio Spurs: four consecutive 3 pointers (one of which was part of a four-point play), including a steal and the game-winning 3 pointer with 1.7 seconds left that led to the 81-80 Rockets win.[2][2] The Rockets finished the 2004–05 season 51–31 as the 5th seed in the playoffs.

McGrady's 30.7 ppg, 6.7 apg, and 7.4 rpg in the first round of the 2005 NBA Playoffs helped Houston to a 2-0 lead in the series against the Dallas Mavericks. McGrady's signature moment was in Game 2, where he blew past Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki and dunked over 7' 6" Dallas center Shawn Bradley. McGrady also hit the gamewinner for a 113–111 victory. But in Game 7, McGrady missed 6 of his first 7 shots, and the Rockets were never able to match the intensity of the Mavericks, who beat them by 40 points and bounced them from the playoffs.

In the early 2005–06 season, McGrady missed eight games because of back spasms. His back spasms resurfaced on January 8, 2006, and he was taken at halftime in a game against the Denver Nuggets on a stretcher to the hospital; he missed another five games and the back problems lurked thereafter. In the 2005–06 season, the Rockets were 2–15 in games he did not play in and 2–16 in games McGrady did not finish. While McGrady was injured for five games with his back injury, the Rockets did not win a single game. Other injuries include him falling on his back in a game against the Indiana Pacers. Despite his back injuries, McGrady was voted into the 2006 All-Star Game in Houston.

In the 2006–07 season, McGrady started out slowly, and after missing 7 games with back spasms he visited a doctor. In an interview with TNT, McGrady said that he thought that his body was slowing down. He believed that he could no longer be as explosive as he was in the past due to his back injury. Shortly after another bout with back spasms, McGrady went to Waco, Texas where Dr. John Patterson performed "Synergy Release Therapy" to cure his chronic back problems, particularly the back spasms.[2] However, since Yao Ming was having another breakout season, he was deferring to Yao as the number one option.[3] Since Yao went down with a leg injury, McGrady stepped up his overall play, re-establishing himself as one of the game's premier players and by doing so led Houston to the 5th best record in the league. On December 29, 2006, he became the third-youngest player in NBA history to reach 14,000 points and 4,000 rebounds.[3] In the playoffs, the Rockets lost their first-round series to the Utah Jazz 4–3. McGrady had said in an interview that if he and the Rockets failed to make it out of the first round again, it was "on me".[3] At his post-game press conference following the Game 7 defeat, McGrady, still visibly emotional from the loss, said "I tried, man, I tried."[3]

After the 2006–07 season, Jeff Van Gundy was fired as head coach. Rick Adelman was hired as head coach. Rockets owner Leslie Alexander wanted a more uptempo offense to use the offensive skills of Yao and McGrady, and saw Adelman as a better fit.

The 2007–08 season for the Rockets was decimated by injuries; Yao was placed on injured reserve in February. Incredibly, the Rockets won 22 straight games (10 without Yao). The Rockets finished as the 5th seed in the West and earned a rematch with the Utah Jazz. However, by the time playoffs came, McGrady was already nursing shoulder and knee injuries as he had bandages placed on his shoulder and his knee throughout the playoff series. McGrady took pain-killing injections in and had fluid drained from both his shoulder and knee to allow him to play.[3][3][37] The Jazz again eliminated the Rockets in six games, even though McGrady recorded 40 points and 10 rebounds in the decisive Game Six, a 113–91 loss.[3]

In May 2008, McGrady underwent arthroscopic surgery on both his left shoulder and left knee.[3]

On February 18, 2009, McGrady announced on his website that he would have surgery on his left knee and would miss the remainder of the 2008–09 season. He had already missed 18 games before the All-Star break, including a two-week stretch in January, and said before the season that his knee was not healed from his off-season surgery.[3] He decided to have microfracture surgery in Chicago on February 24, 2009. The cartilage damage to be repaired by the microfracture surgery was in a small area on a non-weight-bearing surface, and the rest of his knee was otherwise healthy, according to the team doctor.[37][4]

Despite McGrady being on injured reserve, the Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 4–2 in the first round of the playoffs to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1997. The Rockets would compete in a memorable series against the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, before losing Game 7 in LA. Since McGrady was on the Rockets' roster during the 2009 NBA Playoffs, he officially advanced past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in his career.

McGrady only played in six games with the Rockets during the 2009–10 season, all in limited minutes as a reserve due to injuries, before being traded to the New York Knicks in February.

Final years and retirement (2010–13)

On February 18, 2010, McGrady was dealt to the Knicks as part of a three-team trade involving Houston, New York, and Sacramento.[4] Two days later, he made his debut for the team, scoring 26 points in an overtime loss against the Thunder.[4] He would finish the season with averages of 9.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 26.1 minutes per game, and for the next two years, his production would continue to decrease; he averaged just 8 points per game for the Detroit Pistons in 2010–11 and a career-low 5.3 points per game for the Atlanta Hawks in 2011–12.[5]

On October 9, 2012, McGrady signed a one-year deal with the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles of the Chinese Basketball Association.[4] Qingdao finished the season in last place,[4] with McGrady averaging 25 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.[4] Shortly after the conclusion of the CBA campaign, he signed with the San Antonio Spurs in time for him to qualify for their playoff roster.[4] The Spurs ended up advancing to the Finals, losing to the Miami Heat, with McGrady seeing his first-ever minutes in an NBA Finals.

On August 26, 2013, McGrady announced his retirement from the NBA on ESPN's First Take.[4][4][50]

International career

McGrady played with the United States men's national basketball team in the FIBA Americas Championship 2003 at San Juan, Puerto Rico. The FIBA tournament was for qualification to the 2004 Summer Olympics. On August 22 in a 98–69 victory over Venezuela, McGrady led the U.S. with 16 points.[51] McGrady sat out the August 26 game due to a back injury.[52] The U.S. qualified for the 2004 Olympics on August 30 with an 87–71 win over Puerto Rico, but McGrady was in an altercation with Puerto Rico's Eddie Casiano with fans throwing drinks and debris on the court when it happened.[53] The U.S. won the gold medal in the tournament.[54] In the tournament, McGrady shot 54.4% from the field and made 42.1% of three-point attempts. He averaged 12.6 points and 2.9 rebounds a game.[55]

Off the court

Personal life

McGrady has four children—daughters Layla Clarice and Laycee Aloe, and sons Laymen Lamar and Layden—with his wife CleRenda Harris, whom he had dated for ten years. Their first son (and second child) was born on December 27, 2005, during an 82–74 loss against the Utah Jazz; McGrady left during halftime to see his girlfriend going into labor.[56] The couple was married on September 12, 2006, in Mexico.

McGrady and Vince Carter are third cousins; McGrady learned that his grandmother and Carter's grandmother were cousins at a family reunion while he was still in high school and Carter played at the University of North Carolina.[57] The two played together with the Toronto Raptors for two years before McGrady left for free agency. After McGrady left, he and Carter had a feud, but this was resolved in a short period of time.[58]

Tracy's younger brother, Chancellor "Chance" McGrady, played for the 2008 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball runner-up Memphis Tigers basketball team.[59]

In 2008, McGrady was criticized for his comments on the All-Star game being held in New Orleans, only three years removed from the destruction surrounding Hurricane Katrina. McGrady publicly questioned the quality of public safety and protection of NBA players.[60]

Upon retirement, McGrady said, he planned to focus on his business interests, Dasdak a Washington, D.C.-based technology company and Blue-04 a bottled water company in Florida.[61]

Endorsements

In 2002, McGrady signed a long-term partnership with Adidas, agreeing to an endorsement deal that will last through his playing career and beyond.[62] He also appeared on the cover of NBA Live 07.

Philanthropy

McGrady has traveled to the Darfurian refugee camps in Chad with John Prendergast and Omer Ismail of the Enough Project. McGrady recruited NBA players to support a sister schools initiative linking schools in Darfurian refugee camps to American middle schools, high schools, and universities.[63]

In 2009, McGrady changed his jersey number to #3. He made the switch to promote his humanitarian efforts in the Darfur region of the Sudan and a documentary on his summer 2007 visits to refugee camps in the region. The documentary is called 3 Points.[64] However, he went back to wearing # 1 when he joined the Detroit Pistons.

Baseball

On February 4, 2014, McGrady confirmed that he was aiming to pursue his dream of becoming a baseball player, working with Roger Clemens to become a pitcher for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independentAtlantic League.[65][66] He is also part-owner of a Minor League Baseball team set to begin play in Biloxi, Mississippi.[67]

On April 23, 2014, McGrady made the Opening Day roster of the Skeeters.[68] In his debut, he pitched 1 23innings, receiving the loss.[69][70] He started the Atlantic League All-Star Game, where he recorded his first strikeout. After the game, McGrady announced his retirement from baseball.[71]

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG% Field goal percentage 3P% 3-point field goal percentage FT% Free throw percentage
 RPG Rebounds per game APG Assists per game SPG Steals per game
 BPG Blocks per game PPG Points per game Bold Career high

Regular season

 Led the league
YearTeamGPGSMPGFG%3P%FT%RPGAPGSPGBPGPPG
1997–98Toronto641718.4.450.341.7124.21.50.81.07.0
1998–99Toronto49222.6.436.229.7265.72.31.11.39.3
1999–00Toronto793431.2.451.277.7076.33.31.11.915.4
2000–01Orlando777740.1.457.355.7337.54.61.51.526.8
2001–02Orlando767638.3.451.364.7487.95.31.61.025.6
2002–03Orlando757439.4.457.386.7936.55.51.70.832.1
2003–04Orlando676739.9.417.339.7966.05.51.40.628.0
2004–05Houston787840.8.431.326.7746.25.71.70.725.7
2005–06Houston474737.1.406.312.7476.54.81.30.924.4
2006–07Houston717135.8.431.331.7075.36.51.30.524.6
2007–08Houston666237.0.419.292.6845.15.91.00.521.6
2008–09Houston353533.7.388.376.8014.45.01.20.415.6
2009–10Houston607.7.368.500.6670.81.00.00.33.2
2009–10New York242426.1.389.242.7543.73.90.60.59.4
2010–11Detroit723923.4.442.341.6983.53.50.90.58.0
2011–12Atlanta52016.1.437.455.6753.02.10.30.35.3
Career93870332.7.435.338.7465.64.41.20.919.6
All-Star7624.6.500.351.6193.03.91.60.417.1

Playoffs

YearTeamGPGSMPGFG%3P%FT%RPGAPGSPGBPGPPG
2000Toronto3337.0.386.286.8757.03.01.01.016.7
2001Orlando4444.5.415.200.8166.58.31.81.333.8
2002Orlando4444.5.462.313.7396.35.50.51.830.8
2003Orlando7744.0.448.340.7736.74.72.00.931.7
2005Houston7743.0.456.370.8247.46.71.61.430.7
2007Houston7740.0.394.250.7375.97.30.70.925.3
2008Houston6641.2.425.208.6238.26.81.50.827.0
2012Atlanta6015.0.385.000.8332.81.00.00.34.2
2013San Antonio605.2.000.000.0001.31.20.30.50.0
Career503834.5.426.290.7575.75.01.10.922.2

CBA career statistics

YearTeamGPGSMPGFG%3P%FT%RPGAPGSPGBPGPPG
2012–13Qingdao292633.3.496[72].333.7227.25.11.60.625.0

NBA career achievements

  • First Team: 2002, 2003
  • Second Team: 2001, 2004, 2007
  • Third Team: 2005, 2008

Orlando Magic franchise records

  • Most points in one game with 62 (March 10, 2004 vs. Washington Wizards)
  • Most points in one half with 37 in the first half (March 9, 2003 vs. Denver Nuggets)
  • Most points in one quarter with 25 in the second quarter (March 9, 2003 vs. Denver Nuggets)
  • Most points in a playoff game with 46 (Tied, Dwight Howard; in Game 2 of the 2003 Eastern Conference playoffs, First Round vs. Detroit Pistons)
  • Most three-point field goals made in one half with 8 (January 26, 2004 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers)

 

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