Tracy McGrady, one of the best and most versatile scorers of his generation, has decided to hang up his NBA sneakers.
McGrady made the announcement on ESPN’s First Take.
McGrady, 34, started last season playing in China then upon his return was picked up by the San Antonio Spurs and was a little-used reserve on the team that made a run to the NBA Finals. My guess is he may play again in China next season, but he says he is done with the NBA.
McGrady ends his Hall of Fame worthy career with an impressive resume — two-time NBA scoring champion, two-time All-NBA First Team, seven time All-Star
McGrady was the No. 9 pick of the Toronto Raptors back in 1997 directly out of Florida’s Auburndale high school. He and Vince Carter teamed up in Canada to make one of the more entertaining teams of the past couple decades. But McGrady burned a lot of bridges north of the border when he bolted for the Magic and signed a massive free agent contract.
McGrady’s best season likely came in Orlando, when in 2002-03 he averaged 32.1 points a game while carrying the Magic, using 35.2 percent of the team’s offense when he was on the court. He had a PER of 30.3 that season (for comparison, that would have been better than everyone in the NBA but LeBron James last five seasons).
There was a time when it was a legitimate debate as to who would have the better career, Kobe Bryant or McGrady. But McGrady started to have health issues and was never on a team he could lift out of the playoffs in the first round. When McGrady and Yao Ming teamed in in Houston it was thought they could form a contender, but both stars were betrayed by their bodies (while they had good role players around them but the team could not advance).
That said, McGrady should be in the Hall of Fame some day, one of the best of his generation and one of the games best pure scorers ever.
A few days ago had his public charity event, Kobe Bryant said the most difficult player for him to guard was Tracy McGrady.
Now McGrady is throwing some love back at Kobe. TMZ camera crews were hanging around LAX (as they do) and caught McGrady getting on a flight and asked him about his toughest to guard.
“It’s Kobe, all day…. Absolutely, ain’t nobody close.”
McGrady says he didn’t play against prime Michael Jordan, although his rookie year was the last of Jordan’s Bulls championship teams so there was a little crossover. But peak McGrady didn’t face peak Jordan. Kind of the same thing with LeBron James — they crossed paths, most recently in the NBA Finals last season, but peak McGrady says he never really faced peak LeBron.
So he goes with Kobe. This feels a little like the book publishing trick of having authors glowingly praise each others books on jacket-cover blurbs (they trade praise all the time). That can come off as hollow.
But Kobe is his call. A lot of you with disagree with it, but it’s his opinion.
McGrady has still not landed an NBA job for next season.
Last season Tracy McGrady started off in China, where he is still a legend and looked the part averaging 25.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.
Then when that season ended he joined the San Antonio Spurs for the stretch run where he played a limited role (getting mop up duty in just six playoff games) but went all the way to the NBA Finals.
So what is the plan for next season, China or the NBA? He wrote about it on a Chinese social media service.
I’ll be making my decision on playing in the NBA or going back to CBA on my website coming soon
It’s not likely any NBA team would give him a guaranteed deal, and not a lot are going to have much of any role for him. So the question becomes is it better to get a nice paycheck in China or roll the dice you can make one more NBA team?
I guess we’ll find out soon enough, but my guess is he is headed back to China.