Interview: Tracy McGrady Talks Sneakers and Terrible Suit Choices

Bang like T-Mac

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Tracy McGrady isn’t playing basketball anymore, but his signature sneakers aren’t going anywhere. The patent leather “All-Star” version of his adidasT-Mac 3s re-released exclusively at Teaneck, N.J.'s Packer Shoes over the weekend, where McGrady himself stopped by to sign sneakers and memorabilia for over 100 fans. As a nod to T-Mac’s double-minded sneaker choice in the 2004 NBA All-Star game, the pairs came in a mismatched red and blue package. Here, McGrady recalls his days playing in the sneakers and what not to wear on national television.

Interview by Gerald Flores (@ImGeraLd)

How’s your wrist?
I shoot more than that. Well, I used to.

So this is the first retro of the T-Mac 3. Does it bring back any flashbacks?
I had some memorable moments in these shoes. One being I led the league in scoring playing in these. Two was the All-Star Game. Wearing the mismatched red and blue shoes in the All-Star game, throwing the ball off the glass. Those are some of the memories that stick out.

When the patent leather versions originally came out, they were two separate pairs of shoes right?
Yes. Well, we came out with the black and blue ones first. Then the white and blue ones. But for the All-Star game, we came out with the patent leathers. After the All-Star game, I was wearing the patent blue ones and the NBA told me I was getting fined. I didn’t wear them too much in the regular season, because I got fined for every game. 

After the All-Star game, I was wearing the patent blue ones and the NBA told me I was getting fined.

How much was the league fining you?
I don’t remember. It’s been 10 years, but they were fining me every game.

Back to the All-Star Game, whose decision was it to don one of each shoe?
It was all me. I had both pairs in my locker and we had the uniforms that was blue and red. Adidas sent me both pair of shoes for me to decide which one I wanted to wear, so I was like, ‘Why not wear one of each?’ It was a great moment and we got a lot of views off of that.

It’s crazy how that was 10 years ago, how do you think sneakers have changed since then?
A lot has changed. Twitter. Instagram. With all this social media, there’s so much access for marketing these shoes. I didn’t have all of that when I was releasing my shoes. But as far as the shoes themselves, the styles and colorways are much brighter now. I think that’s one of the biggest differences.

Now that you mention social media, there was an photo floating around the Internet of your baggy suit on NBA TV. Do you regret wearing that?
Nah. Not really. We all have silly fashion moments in our career. I was actually making fun of it myself. I thought it was quite hilarious. Everybody knows I don’t dress like that. It was just one of those moments.

We have to continue the T-Mac series. It’s only right.

Back to basketball. Your favorite player growing up was Penny Hardaway, right?

Even after he retired, Nike continued Penny’s signature line. Is that something you’d like to see happen with your line?
We have to, man. You saw the outcome we had here today. I wasn’t even expecting this. People have got love and I’ve got some really loyal fans that appreciate what I’ve brought to the game. We have to continue the T-Mac series. It’s only right. The love that we got at the store today was unbelievable.

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