Tracy Lamar McGrady, Jr. (born May 24, 1979, in Bartow, Florida) is an American professional basketball player, currently positioned at starting shooting guard for the Houston Rockets in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is commonly referred to as "T-Mac", and he can also play the small forward position. He spent the first seven years of his career with the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic before being traded to the Houston Rockets in 2004. McGrady was ranked #75 on SLAM magazine's Top 75 NBA Players of All Time in 2003. McGrady's style of play has been compared to that of George "The Iceman" Gervin.
High School Career
Tracy McGrady played high school basketball at Mount Zion Christian Academy, in Durham, North Carolina. He would have attended the University of Kentucky had he not entered the NBA right after high school. McGrady created a national buzz after his performance in the Reebok 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.
Toronto(97-00) McGrady was drafted ninth overall in the first round of the 1997 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors. Chicago Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause had arranged a draft-day trade to send Scottie Pippen to the Vancouver Grizzlies for the fourth overall selection, which he would have used to draft McGrady. Krause was forced to call off the deal when Michael Jordan threatened to retire if it was made.
In McGrady's first two seasons with the Raptors, he averaged less than 10 points per game, mainly coming off the bench. In his second season, he began playing alongside his cousin, Vince Carter, who would go on to win the Rookie of the Year Award that season. The 1999-2000 season was McGrady's first breakout season in the NBA. He was a starter in 34 games out of 79, averaging 15.4 points per game, and a career-high 1.9 blocks per game. McGrady also competed in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, finishing third, behind Carter and Steve Francis.
In 2000, the duo of McGrady and Carter helped lead the Raptors to the playoffs, for the first time in franchise history. However, the team was swept 3–0 by the New York Knicks in the first round. McGrady was often overshadowed by Carter during his time in Toronto, and in the off-season he expressed interest in playing for family and friends in his home state of Florida.
Orlando (00-04) On August 3, 2000, McGrady was dealt to the Orlando Magic in a sign-and-trade deal. In Orlando, he played alongside Grant Hill, who had been acquired that summer in hope of bringing Orlando back among the Eastern Conference's elite teams. However, ankle injury limited Hill to only 4 games and McGrady became the leader of the team. For the first time in his career McGrady was selected as an All-Star when he was voted by the fans to start in the midseason classic for the Eastern Conference. At season's end he was presented with the 2001 NBA Most Improved Player Award. Even though McGrady had another breakout season, the Magic were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks.
In the 2002-03 season, McGrady averaged 32.1 points per game and captured the NBA scoring title, becoming the youngest player to do so since the NBA/ABA merger. Despite McGrady's personal accolades, the Magic failed to reach the second round of the playoffs. In a rather infamous moment, during the 2003 NBA Playoffs, the Magic (who were an #8 seed) surprisingly took a 3-1 series lead against the heavily favored #1 seed Detroit Pistons. Prior to the fifth game in Detroit, McGrady was quoted as saying that how wonderful it was to "finally be in the second round (of the playoffs)". Orlando, however, lost Games 5, 6, and 7 by an average of more than 20 points, and Detroit advanced to the second round.
In the 2003-04 season, he once again captured the NBA scoring title, averaging 28 points per game, and set a career high with 62 points against the Washington Wizards on March 10, 2004. With this performance, he became the fourth player in the past 12 years to score over 60 points in a game.
However, problems with team chemistry, coaching, and management forced Orlando into a downward spiral. The season ended with Orlando failing to reach the playoffs and an impatient McGrady seeking a trade.
Houston (04-Present) 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. In his first year with the Houston Rockets, McGrady teamed with 7'6" center Yao Ming, to end the season ranked 5th in the Western Conference.
On December 9, 2004, he scored 13 points in the last 35 seconds of a game against the San Antonio Spurs, with 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 in the game that helped the Rockets win 81–80. Despite McGrady's excellent play in the first round of the 2005 NBA Playoffs, Houston was eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks in game seven by only 5 points.
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 tailbone in a game against the Indiana Pacers.
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. Since Yao Ming was having another breakout season, he was deferring to Yao as the number one option. On December 29, 2006, he became the third youngest player in NBA history to reach 14,000 points and 4,000 rebounds. However, in the playoffs, the Rockets lost their first round series to the Utah Jazz 4-3, again preventing McGrady from advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the sixth time in his 10 year career.
Awards and Accomplishments
- 2 Time NBA Scoring Champion (2003, 2004)
- 7 Time All Star (2001–2007)
- 6 Time All-NBA Team
- NBA Most Improved Player (2001)
- 60 Career 40+ point Games
- Record holder for most 3 Pointers made in a half (8)
- Third cousin to NBA player and former teammate, Vince Carter
- Was on cover of NBA Live 07
- 5th youngest player to reach 14,000 points and 4,000 rebounds
- Childhood idol was Penny Hardaway (thus the #1 jersey)
- Once ran a 4.2 in 40-yard dash