Tag: Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady to make professional baseball debut Saturday night


Saturday night, Tracy McGrady will take the mound as the starting pitcher for the Sugar Land Skeeters baseball team.

It’s the professional baseball debut for the seven-time NBA All-Star, a legendary scorer with high-flying dunks who scored more than 18,000 points and averaged 19.3 points a game over a 16-season career.

Now McGrady is trying a second career. He’s a right hander who will be throwing against the Somerset Patriots as part of the Atlantic League (an independent league, but one with names baseball fans know such as Lew Ford, Mark Hendrickson and Sean Burroughs).

While he flourished in basketball, he says he always loved baseball as well, playing it until he was a senior in high school. With his professional hoops career over (unless he wanted to pick up some checks for just showing up in China) he decided to chase his dream again. He got tips from and threw with Roger Clemons, and Skeeters officials said they clocked McGrady throwing up to 91 mph.

He’s not bound for the major leagues (although, have you seen the Astro’s pitching?) but he is getting to chase something he loves. You have to appreciate that.

Shaquille O’Neal, Tracy McGrady share an All-Star kiss (VIDEO)

2009 NBA All-Star Game

Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t only one of the most dominant players of his era, he was perhaps its greatest showman.

O’Neal embraced the entertainment aspect of his job as a professional basketball player during his 19-year career, and All-Star weekend was a time when he could truly let his playful personality shine.

This highlight, taken from the 2007 event in Las Vegas, features O’Neal kissing Tracy McGrady on the head after slamming home an offensive rebound. O’Neal had a prickly side to his personality to be sure, but this is a reminder of just how gregarious he could be when performing under the spotlight.

Tracy McGrady laments ‘knuckleheads’ in the league today, including Michael Beasley


Casual fans of the game aren’t the only ones to struggle with understanding the poor decisions made by young twenty-somethings with enough physical skills and talent to earn multiple NBA contracts.

Go ahead and count Tracy McGrady in that same group as the rest of us.

McGrady will likely make the basketball Hall of Fame at some point, but he believes the game has changed since the prime of his playing days. He laments the number of “knuckleheads” who don’t appreciate the talent they’ve been blessed with or the opportunity that they’ve been given, and doesn’t get why players in the league would risk it all over some off-the-court nonsense.

From Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star:

“You’ve got some guys in the league now who are just knuckleheads,” McGrady said. “What turns me off is guys doing the wrong thing. Just the legal part of it, hanging out, getting these DUIs, marijuana — all that crazy stuff, just doing the wrong thing, setting a bad example for the young guys … I don’t quite understand it. I take a guy like (Michael) Beasley. Had all the potential in the world but he’s not level-headed. He just doesn’t get it. And a very talented player. But where else are you going to make this type of money doing something you love to do every day, take care of your family and play basketball. I mean, are you serious? You get millions of dollars for it and you mess these opportunities up? I don’t get it.”

Again, join the club.

No one will ever understand why a player with Beasley’s talent and upside makes the decisions that he does, or why he would choose to play with a level of apathy that would seem unconscionable to those outside of the professional basketball circles.

McGrady may come off to some as a crotchety old man here, but former players know better than anyone the gifts that are given to professional athletes. And throwing those away, no matter the reason, will continue to perplex those of us on the outside looking in — and even some on the inside, as well.

Tracy McGrady, reflecting on his career, says he wishes he would have stayed in Toronto

tracy mcgrady vince carter raptors

Tracy McGrady’s NBA career didn’t really begin to blow up until after his third season, but most who observed his game closely knew it was coming.

That was unfortunate for the Toronto Raptors, the team that drafted McGrady with the ninth overall pick in 1997, but who would lose him to Orlando in free agency just as he was preparing to ascend to incredible heights.

McGrady didn’t realize how good he had it in Toronto at the time, however, and now that he’s retired and has had some time to reflect, he says he would have done things differently with the benefit of hindsight.

From Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star:

McGrady, who grew up in tiny Auburndale, Fla., fled to nearby Orlando only months after his 21st birthday, and his return trips to the Air Canada Centre would be accompanied by the vicious boos of a jilted populous. But more than 13 years later, in the days since he announced his retirement from the NBA last month at age 34, McGrady has been looking back fondly on his time in the NBA’s Canadian outpost.

“In hindsight, looking back, obviously I wish I had stayed in Toronto,” McGrady was saying in a recent telephone interview from his home in the Houston area. “There’s no doubt we could have contended for a championship. I think about that often. But if ‘if’ was a fifth, you know?” …

“Had I been a little older and wiser and knew what was ahead of me, I would have stayed, no doubt, with those guys. But that was some of the best times of my life, man. Being with (Charles) Oakley and Kevin Willis and Antonio Davis, Muggsy (Bogues), Dell Curry, Dee Brown. Man. I still talk to a lot of those guys to this day. Because I appreciated how they looked out for me. They were all professionals.”

The Raptors had their best NBA season in the year following McGrady’s departure, taking the Sixers to seven games in the Eastern Conference semis and coming within a missed jumper from Vince Carter at the buzzer from advancing.

Had McGrady remained, of course, things might have turned out a whole lot differently not only that season, but for years to come for the Raptors franchise. While the sentiment from McGrady is nice, it won’t make fans in Toronto feel any less pained by the decision he made all those years ago.