Tracy McGrady is set to become the latest player to join the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as the seven-time All-Star was informed he made the final cut for the 2017 class on Saturday afternoon.
McGrady celebrated in a short video alongside Rachel Nichols, his coworker on ESPN's The Jump, and was mostly reserved as he told his fans about getting the call from the Hall of Fame:
Nichols was also the one to share the news with McGrady when he was named a finalist for the Hall back in December. McGrady is soft spoken in both videos, clearly taken aback by the tremendous honor.
At his peak, McGrady was one of the most devastating scorers the league has ever seen. After coming of age as Vince Carter's sidekick in Toronto, McGrady blossomed as the centerpiece of the Orlando Magic in the early 2000s, escaping from the shadow of Vinsanity to win the scoring title in 2003 and 2004.
There were few players on the planet as gifted at getting buckets as McGrady was. He was capable of scoring at all three levels, blowing by opponents with his devastating first step or raining jumper after jumper on helpless defenses:
Between two separate stops with the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets, McGrady made seven consecutive All-Star teams from 2000 to 2007, and was named to seven All-NBA teams in eight years during the same time period. Two of those All-NBA selections were on the first team, and he shared the honor with elite company like Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant.
Speaking of Bryant, the basketball world deserved a Finals matchup between he and McGrady's teams at some point in their careers. When both players were healthy, their head-to-head battles were appointment television. Watch this sequence, where McGrady crumples Bryant to the floor with a half-spin, only for Kobe to dunk on half the Magic team on the very next play.
McGrady's career is filled with what-ifs, most of which are tied to injuries. When he joined the Magic before the 2000-01 season, he expected to be the co-star alongside fellow big-name acquisition Grant Hill. But McGrady was forced to shoulder the load alone after injuries ruined the prime of Hill's career, limiting the former Pistons star to just 47 games in his first four seasons with Orlando. Other close calls — like missing out on signing Tim Duncan in free agency — left McGrady carrying an underwhelming supporting cast through a series of early playoff exits.
It was more of the same at his next stop in Houston. A partnership between McGrady and 2002's No. 1 overall pick, Yao Ming, was never able to materialize because of perpetual health woes for both players. McGrady would eventually undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee in 2009, and the league's former leading scorer never averaged double-digit scoring ever again. Even still, his time with the Rockets produced some memorable moments, including his iconic 13 points in 33 seconds against the Spurs in 2004:
McGrady's career averages of 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game undersell how great he was at his apex. Do yourself a favor: binge on some old McGrady highlights, and celebrate the career of one of the most electric scorers of all-time.
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