Tracy Mcgrady’s Wasted Potential

Image source: Complex

Anybody who follows the NBA would’ve heard of Tracy McGrady, one of the most explosive and dynamic players to ever step foot on the court. Flashy dunks, difficult shots, fast-paced offense, the man could do it all. But we all know how he is another generational talent who succumbed to injuries. Despite the tragic end of his superstardom, he still gave fans many memorable moments. McGrady created a Hall of Fame career for himself without even reaching his full potential.

McGrady was drafted 9th overall in the 1997 NBA draft, by the Toronto Raptors. In the following draft, his cousin Vince Carter was picked and they formed a formidable duo. They led the Raptors to their first-ever playoffs in the 1999-00 season. McGrady left the team in 2000, joining the Orlando Magic. He broke out in Orlando, emerging as one of the league’s best talents, and garnering All-Star and All-NBA honors. The Magic, however, could never get past the first round of the playoffs. In 2002-03, McGrady earned his first scoring title, averaging an absurd 32.1 points per game. He would get another scoring title the following season, his last with the Magic.

bleacher report
Image source: Bleacher report

In 2004, McGrady was traded to the Houston Rockets, where he found himself playing alongside All-Star center Yao Ming. The start to their partnership was rocky, as the team struggled to find its footing. McGrady’s defining moment as a player happened against the San Antonio Spurs, where he scored 13 points in just 33 seconds to secure a comeback victory for the Rockets. His tenure with the Rockets was heartbreaking, as he and Yao Ming proved to be a capable pair, but injuries and inability to step up in crucial moments hurt the team’s playoff aspirations. Each season McGrady and Ming battled injuries, and the Rockets never got past the first round.

Houston Chronicle
Image source: Houston Chronicle

McGrady had an injury-riddled 2008-09 season, and ironically, the Rockets got further in the playoffs without him, reaching the second round and pushing the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games before losing. McGrady’s career was essentially finished at this point. He was no longer the player he once was. He bounced around the league the next few seasons, playing short stints in New York, Detroit and Atlanta. He even played a season in the Chinese Basketball Association. In 2013, he signed with the San Antonio Spurs, who reached the NBA finals but lost to the Miami Heat. On August 26, 2013, McGrady announced his retirement.
Injuries deprived us of the chance to watch Tracy McGrady dominate the NBA for longer than he did, and he remains one of the biggest ‘what-ifs’ in basketball. A player with skill and talent that most could only dream of, he made his mark on the league and will be celebrated for years to come. It is a shame that we never got to see how good he could’ve become.


About the Author: Sidharth is a 2nd-year MBBS student studying at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal.

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