Just announced on our show – @Real_T_Mac has retired from the NBA.
— ESPN First Take (@ESPN_FirstTake) August 26, 2013
Tracy McGrady, who spent the past four years trying to make us forget how supremely talented he really was, has decided he's had enough, and is quitting the NBA.
McGrady started his career in Toronto, where he and his cousin, Vince Carter, took turns shattering the hearts of fans there who saw so, SO much athletic potential in that tandem. They were only paired for two years before TMac went to Orlando, and became one of the deadliest scorers in the game.
Over the following eight years, some of those with Houston, he averaged about 26.3 points per game. In the 2002-'03 season, McGrady put up a PER of 30.3. To put that into perspective, LeBron James' PER this past season was 31.6, and 30.7 the year before when Miami won its first title. He averaged more than 30 points per game in four straight playoffs from '01 to '05.
But the sleepy-eyed scoring machine never could lead his team beyond the first round of the playoffs. Injuries became as much a part of McGrady's career as his ability to score points in bunches. He had back, shoulder, and knee ailments throughout his career, robbing us of some of his offensive prowess.
His later years saw him holding onto the game as he bounced from city to city, and even to China. He played for seven NBA teams, finally sniffing some sort of playoff success as a bench mainstay with the San Antonio Spurs as they went to seven games against the champion Miami Heat.
It's been a long road for TMac. It's hard to remember that he was virtually unstoppable for such a long stretch. The last few years have been spent dulling the shine on his star, but there is little doubt that McGrady was one of THE guys in the NBA over the early-to-mid 2000's. He was so good, that even a few years of single-digit scoring numbers only managed to bring his career scoring average down to slightly under 20.
The next stop for McGrady will likely be Springfield. He is one of the biggest "preps-to-pros" success stories, and he should be remembered as such.