Tracy Mcgrady: The greatest man never to win a NBA Championship
Tracy Mcgrady is one of the greatest NBA players never to win a championship. That’s, the bottom line. If I wanted to, I could end it at that because that sentence explains it all. Tracy Mcgrady is probably in the top five lists of great NBA players never to win a NBA Championship right behind John Stockton, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and Allen Iverson. It’s always sad to see great NBA players go out without getting a ring. I think about guys like Chris Mullin, Grant Hill, (probably Steve Nash when it’s over), and Penny Hardaway when I say that sometimes in life, good talent can go to waste. It’s a sad sight to see. Mcgrady played in his prime during an era that I like to refer to as the Silver age of basketball. People speculate when the golden age of basketball occurred. Some people say the 80’s, some say the 70’s. I personally say that the 90’s was an era where basketball hit its peak. It was certainly my favorite era of basketball as it defined the true meanings of words such as dynasty, rivalry, and competition. If you couldn’t play basketball in the 90’s, you weren’t on the court. Only the strongest survived
When you talk about basketball in the early 2000’s, there is a lot to hate. The idea of “diva” like basketball players materialized around this time. Also, the merger of basketball and “Hip Hop” surely gathered mixed emotions from diehard fans. However, there was a lot to love. We saw the crowning of a new dynasty (Lakers), the story of the underdogs (Pistons), and an abundance of characters that made their names popular on and off the court. These guys included Steve Francis, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, and of course, Tracy Mcgrady. It was these guys that would carry the torch once held by the likes of Michael Jordan, and build on the popularity that the NBA already had. Each guy stood out in his own way. However, it was at this time that we saw the basketball birth of Tracy Mcgrady.
Tracy Mcgrady came into the league as a tall, lanky, defensive minded guard headed to the newly created Toronto Raptors. In today’s time, going to the Raptors would be like going to a sport purgatory. However, in the early 2000’s, when the Raptors were actually making noise in the East, being drafted by them was actually pretty cool. Mcgrady would blossom as a raptor. He would soon begin to turn heads as a raptor and, he would eventually become a threat to take over the Jordan throne as king of the NBA as a….member of the Orlando Magic. In 2000, Mcgrady was picked up by the Magic in hopes to (along with Grant Hill) turn the Magic into contenders in the eastern conference. Even without Hill (due to injury), the Magic did eventually become contenders. Mcgrady played some of the greatest basketball of his career, holding season averages ranging from 26ppg (2000-01), to 32ppg (2002-03). Mcgrady was having the time of his life in Orlando. While he was originally a defensive minded player his first few years in the NBA, Mcgrady would eventually become one of the biggest scoring threats in the NBA in Orlando. There was no real way to stop him; one could only hope to contain him. Mcgrady had the explosiveness of his cousin Vince Carter, the speed of your favorite point guard, and the agile moves of George Gervin. Mcgrady could do it all as a scorer, while maintaining his same tenacity on the defensive end. Tracy Mcgrady was a coach’s dream; he was a likable guy, did whatever it took to win, and had the overall talent to lead a team. The only thing that Mcgrady had that was a knock against him was his injuries.
Tracy Mcgrady would eventually have multiple seasons cut short ranging from 2004-2010 due to back spasm and eventually micro fracture surgery. It was a sad day remembering this due to the fact that Mcgrady’s story seemed to be another story of another great athlete cut down thanks to injury. Some players bring their downfall on themselves. In my personal opinion, I hold no remorse for the likes of Steve Francis or Gilbert Arenas. These guys brought their eventual downfalls on themselves due to excessive partying, drug abuse and total disrespect of the gift that they were given. Mcgrady never lost his gift. True, it was hindered due to injury. However, Mcgrady’s impact on the NBA has never died; and even though Mcgrady is now retired, his influence on the NBA will constantly be on the court for many more years. It’s sad to see him leave, but throughout the injuries and failed playoff attempts, Mcgrady is still one of the greatest ever.