The 36 year old Tracy Mcgrady was standing right in front of thousands of people in the hard court. As the memorable “Fast and Furious 7” tribute song to Paul Walker started playing.
“Look at things different, see the bigger picture
Those were the days
Hard work forever pays”
You could only ponder, how his career could have been; without the injuries, with a healthy Grant Hill that could have propelled Orlando as a championship contender, with a good supporting casts that would not waste his prime. 2 years after his unheard NBA retirement, China retired his jersey in front of adoring crowd that loves and worshipped him like they were his own. It could have been cool if his cousin Vince Carter appeared on the crowd wearing the Raptors uniform and gave a Magic to Bird retirement speech. With Vince telling “There would never ever, ever be another T-Mac.
But it would never happen… and I could vouched that there will never ever, ever be another Bird and Magic moment. It’s just the way it is. T-mac could have been part of every “greatness” discussion. Although, he could never eclipsed Jordan’s legacy nor Lebron or Kobe’s but he could have made a great argument. If you could score 13 points in 35 seconds against a young San Antonio Spurs in 2004, I can’t see why.
After being retired and played a short baseball stint (his first love), T-mac wanted to be back in basketball. Something Michael Jordan had done after a sabbatical retirement while playing professional baseball and decided to go back with the Bulls and won 3 championships. But there was no call, Tracy’s last attempt was a bench role on a Spurs team that lost to Lebron’s Miami team in game 7.
With a healthy back and legs, Tracy wanted basketball redemption. He wanted to be remembered in the pantheon of NBA’s greatest players. I wrote a Tracy article a year ago
And wrote this one:
“Injuries took all that away from Mcgrady. He could have played wiser, or better yet could have practice harder. But that is what it is, a remnant of his old self who barely nudged a minute of playing time while he was a member with the San Antonio Spurs.
It was a long shot from being significant again but it’s worth the try. Somehow Tracy got back in towards the NBA’s 450 spots with development league, undrafted and overseas players surrounding the NBA. And if it was five years ago you would never thought that this could happen to one of the leagues athletic wing man.”
A teary eyed Tracy Mcgrady thanked all the people who cheered and came to his Chinese retirement ceremony. It still symbolizes his greatness, the greatness that transcends without boundaries.
“We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again”
As the crowd shouted… T-mac! T-mac! T-mac… Tracy Mcgrady saluted the crowd.
It was one helluva career and one great retirement ceremony.
Something that could have been done 2 years ago.