ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Tracy McGrady is a Basketball Hall of Famer, meaning he’s already reached the absolute pinnacle of accolades celebrating his playing career.
That doesn’t mean he wasn’t deeply moved by the latest gesture.
McGrady was enshrined Tuesday into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame , a long-deserved hat tip to what the Central Florida native accomplished during his 295-game tenure with the team. The two-time NBA scoring champion went into the Basketball Hall this past September, and said getting recognized by the Magic still meant more than he could express.
“Yes, I got inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, but today is special to me,” McGrady said. “On a personal level, growing up in Auburndale, Florida, my mom used to drive over here every summer when I was playing basketball in Orlando … and I used to tell my mom, I would tell my friends that I was going to be wearing this uniform one day.”
Few wore it better.
Drafted in 1997 about a month after his 18th birthday – by Toronto, Orlando’s opponent on Tuesday night – McGrady went on to play 15 NBA seasons. He was an All-Star seven times, a run that started with each of his four seasons with the Magic, and he remains Orlando’s franchise leader with a scoring average of 28.1 points per game.
“To say you represented the Orlando Magic well would be a vast, vast understatement,” Magic CEO Alex Martins told McGrady during the ceremony.
McGrady’s 62 points against Washington in 2004 remains a Magic single-game record, and he has three of the team’s four highest scoring efforts. The only players to score more points during their tenures in an Orlando uniform are Dwight Howard and Nick Anderson, both of whom played more than twice as many games as McGrady did with the Magic.
He signed with Orlando as a free agent, and landing him couldn’t have been easier. McGrady said he once told former Magic coach Doc Rivers after an Orlando-Toronto game to hold a spot for him that summer.
“Nobody had to do any recruiting,” said McGrady, who wore jersey No. 1 in honor of his favorite player growing up – former Orlando star Penny Hardaway. “I knew I was coming home.”
He’s still with the Magic as well, juggling a job as special assistant to the CEO alongside his duties as an ESPN analyst.
McGrady was born in Bartow, Florida, about 60 miles from Orlando. Besides the Raptors and Magic, McGrady also played for Houston, New York, Detroit and Atlanta.
“There isn’t anybody more deserving than him to be in the Magic Hall of Fame,” Martins said.