The Tragic Story: Tracy McGrady

           At one point in the 2000s, there was a serious discussion about who was better, Kobe Bryant or Tracy Mcgrady. Now, when we think about McGrady, we think about a superstar whose career was tragically cut short.

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           McGrady was an athletic monster, who could score the basketball at will. His 43-inch vertical leap left defenders in awe watching him soar in the air to put down tomahawk dunks night in and night out. You would imagine someone like T-Mac to be on a contending team every season of his prime, but for some reason, Tracy never made it out of the first round of the playoffs. This was for one reason: bad luck.

           In the offseason of 2000, McGrady decided to abandon his cousin Vince in Toronto to go to the Orlando Magic. At the time, this move seemed great for McGrady and the Orlando Magic as the Magic had just acquired both McGrady and Grant Hill through free agency. Hill and McGrady were scoring machines in the previous season and the future looked bright in Orlando.      

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After the Magic signed Grant Hill to a huge contract, he caught the injury bug. In the four seasons T-Mac played in Orlando, Grant Hill played 47 of the possible 328 games leaving McGrady with no help. The Magic could not even help McGrady because they had no cap flexibility as they were paying Grant Hill loads of money to stay on the bench.

             Furthermore, in 2001, McGrady’s first season with Orlando, the Raptors made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals and lost in 7 games to Philadelphia 76ers. That Sixers team made it to the 2001 NBA Finals. If in 2001 McGrady was still on the Raptors, they would have almost surely made the Finals and given the Los Angeles Lakers a run for their money there. This was the first stroke of bad luck in Tracy’s career.

             

In the 2004 offseason, Tracy McGrady was traded to the Houston Rockets in a deal which sent Steve Francis to the Magic. Sadly, this would be another stroke of bad luck for McGrady as a few days before the trade, the Magic had selected Dwight Howard in the NBA Draft. Dwight and Tracy could have brought Orlando their first championship in 2009 as they had originally made the Finals that season. A Dwight Howard and Tracy McGrady duo would have been amazing and maybe even help bring a championship to Orlando but as we all now know, it never happened.

             Tracy’s Houston years included many signature moments such as the 22 game winning-streak in 2008 and his 13 points in 33 seconds against San Antonio in 2004. (Fun Fact: If McGrady kept scoring at that pace and still played the 40 minutes which he did, he would have 891 points at the end of the game.)

             So what exactly happened? Simply put, Tracy McGrady’s body betrayed him. In the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons he had frequent back spasms which at one point got so bad, in a game against Denver, he had to be stretchered off the court. After his back spasms toned down, he injured his left knee and left shoulder at the same time. McGrady soon needed surgery for both his shoulder and knee. This caused a microfracture in his knee which needed surgery the next season. This surgery zapped him of all his athleticism.

             Injury after injury caused Tracy McGrady, once the NBA’s star, to retire in 2013, at the young age of 32.

 

     

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