DAR Sports: The Legacy Of Tracy McGrady

By @TrueGodImmortal

The 2X NBA scoring champion, 2001 Most Improved Player, and 7X NBA All Star is another story in the NBA where injuries seemed to plague the greatness he was truly destined for. However, before the injuries became too much to handle, we were treated to some amazing moments and saw the true making of a legend. T-Mac made the SLAM magazine list for top 75 players of all time back in 2003, and his legacy hadn't even been finished yet, so that goes to show you the level of talent he possessed.

After being named the best player of the year in his High School senior year by USA Today, T-Mac decided to enter the NBA draft straight out of high school, being drafted # 9 overall in the first round by the Toronto Raptors. His first season was pretty insignificant and nothing to truly speak of, however when the Raptors acquired T-Mac's cousin Vince Carter, we saw a change occur. The 1999-2000 season saw both players championed for their athleticism and ability to play at a high level, and soon T-Mac was starting for the Raptors. He averaged over 15 points a game that season, leading the Raptors to the playoffs before they got swept by the Knicks. Still, T-Mac was not satisfied and he ended up signing a nice deal with the Orlando Magic, and had a successful first season with them, as he led them to a 43-39 record and the playoffs, while averaging 26.8 points a game and gaining his first All Star appearance and winning the Most Improved Player award. The Magic would face the Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. How would T-Mac do in this series? Did he come prepared?

*Game 3 of the 2001 Playoffs Against The Bucks

-This was the game where T-Mac set himself apart from the others, scoring 42 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing out 8 assists. The Magic would end up losing the series to the Bucks and get eliminated from the playoffs, but T-Mac would put folks on notice: It was his time coming up.

After the 2001 playoffs, T-Mac came back with focus in the 2001-2002 season, averaging 25.6 points and 7.9 rebounds a game to earn a second straight All Star appearance, and a second straight All-NBA team selection, this time to the first team(he made the second team the previous season). However, despite his regular season success, it didn't translate over to the playoffs yet again, as the Charlotte Hornets knocked the Magic out in the first round yet again. Determined to break the curse, T-Mac played like a madman during the 2002-2003 season, leading the Magic to the playoffs yet again, but this time he hit a milestone in the process.

*First NBA Scoring Title
-There aren't many NBA stars who average above 30 points a game, but T-Mac did his thing and finished the season with 32.1 points, winning his first NBA scoring title.

However, despite winning the scoring title, T-Mac couldn't lead the Magic beyond the first round yet again, as they were eliminated by the Detroit Pistons. The Magic took a 3-1 lead in the series before choking and losing the last 3. The 2003-2004 season saw the Magic in shambles and unable to make the playoffs or even contend. However, T-Mac ended up winning his 2nd scoring title, finishing the season averaging 28 points a game.

*Career High 62 Points against The Wizards

-T-Mac went into this game with very little to lose or gain as it was clear the Magic weren't going to be playoff contenders. However, T-Mac solidified his run for a second straight scoring title by putting up a career high 62 points here.

During the offseason, T-Mac was traded to the Houston Rockets and ended up struggling early on in the 2004-2005 season with the team, before finding a groove as a SF on the team, and providing us with quite possibly his greatest moment ever in his career on December 9, 2004 against the San Antonio Spurs.

*13 Points In 35 Seconds To Win

-In what has to be one of the most impressive moments ever in the NBA, T-Mac helped the Rockets come back from a huge deficit in the 4th quarter with four 3 pointers(including an and 1) to win the game. T-Mac would finish the game with 35 points total, but those 13 points in 35 seconds are forever etched in history.

After the 2004-2005 season, he went down with an injury in the 2005-2006 season, before returning focused for the latter half of the 2006-2007 season and stepping up with Yao Ming down with an injury of his own. Unfortunately, the Rockets lost in the first round again, and the 2007-2008 season was full of injuries as well for them again. The Rockets would make the playoffs however again, as T-Mac attempted to get beyond the first round, but they lost in 6 games to the Jazz(the same team who put them out the previous year), but T-Mac played hard in the game 6 loss, with 40 points and 10 rebounds. T-Mac still had his killer instinct, but injuries seemed to be a growing issue for him.

Unfortunately for T-Mac, the 2007-2008 season would be the last of true prominence for him, as injuries started to plague him a bit throughout his career. He would be sidelined often, and while he was still viable as a player, he would never truly be the same. After leaving the Rockets, he would end up with the Knicks, Pistons, and Hawks with minimal success before heading to China to play for the Qingdao Eagles, recapturing some of his old glory averaging 25 points and 7 rebounds a game.

He would eventually come back to the US and sign with the Spurs for his final season, seeing minutes for the first time in the playoffs beyond the first round. The Spurs would make the NBA Finals, allowing T-Mac to advance to his first NBA Finals, before the Spurs lost to the Heat in 7 games. T-Mac retired officially from the NBA, signaling the end of his storied career, which had been through ups and downs in the last years. Injury may have prevented us from seeing the true level of greatness that T-Mac could have reached, but his legacy is still solidified.



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