words // Brandon Richard
This past Monday, 7-time All-Star Tracy McGrady officially announced his retirement from the NBA, ending a 16-season career in which he played for seven teams.
McGrady was selected with the 9th overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors. After showing promise in three seasons with the Raptors, McGrady emerged as one of the league’s true superstars when he signed a multi-year free agent deal with the Orlando Magic in 2000. He averaged 28 points per game in four seasons with the Magic, winning scoring titles in 2003 and 2004. However, with teammate Grant Hill sidelined by a nagging ankle injury, Orlando never became the force in the Eastern Conference that they were expected to be and McGrady looked to resume his career in a winning situation.
In June of 2004, McGrady was sent to the Houston Rockets in exchanged for a package that included Steve Francis. Teaming up with All-Star center Yao Ming in Houston, McGrady displayed a balanced all-around game, seeing a decrease in scoring, but becoming more comfortable with his role as a facilitator.
Arguably the most memorable moment of McGrady’s career came in a game against the San Antonio Spurs in December 2004. The Rockets were down 10 points with 49 seconds left and a comeback seemed all but impossible. However, 13 points by McGrady in 35 seconds defied all logic as the Rockets picked up an important win against a Western Conference rival.
Unfortunately, that moment was the highlight of McGrady’s career because the Rockets weren’t able to make much noise in the postseason and recurring injuries claimed what was left of his prime years. After being sent to the New York Knicks in a 2010 trade, McGrady would float around the league with the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks before a stop in China and ultimately concluding his NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs last postseason.
There was a time when Kobe Bryant vs. Tracy McGrady was a real debate. He was that good. In an October 2012 Complex.com article titled “The 25 Greatest Sports Careers Ruined by Injury,” a writer stated, “As a defender, you couldn’t do anything with him because he could beat you in so many ways: killer crossover, quick first step, can over power you, attacked the basket relentlessly, one of the best jumpers in the league, and could jump out the gym.” 100% accurate regarding TMAC in his prime.
With TMAC calling an end to a memorable and possibly Hall of Fame career, today’s Eastbay Memory Lane takes us back to April 2002, when McGrady covered Eastbay catalog wearing the “All-Star” adidas TMAC. McGrady debuted the silver-based shoe in the 2002 All-Star Game and the colorway made a surprising return to retail last summer.
What are some of your favorite TMAC moments? Share your memories with us below and shop the adidas TMAC 1 in various colorways here today.