In his first year of eligibility, voters inducted Houston Rockets legend Tracy McGrady into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
It’s December 9, 2004. 36 seconds left to go in the 4th quarter. The San Antonio Spurs lead the Houston Rockets, 76-68. Tracy McGrady goes up for the three–hits it. Fast Forward 33 seconds, and McGrady has scored 13 points and the Rockets win 81 to 80. That’s T-Mac for you.
Fast forward more than 12 years, and Tracy McGrady is an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He deserves it, and not just for scenarios like the one highlighted here. He is a bonafide Hall of Famer due the talent he possessed, the swagger he carried, the results he produced, and the moments he gave to fans.
Tracy McGrady was drafted straight out of high school to the Toronto Raptors with the 9th pick in the 1997 draft. He had a tough rookie season but found his niche soon, helping the Raptors reach the playoffs in 2000.
Then, after reaching free agency and opting to pack up to Florida and join the Orlando Magic, the superstar started to emerge. He won the scoring title twice, reaching the playoffs three times, though not being able to get out of the first round. His main ally, Grant Hill, had injury issues that prevented the duo from having playoff success. Sadly, it wouldn’t be the last time that story would be told in T-Mac’s career.
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In 2004, the Magic and Rockets struck up a trade that sent Tracy McGrady Houston, putting together a scary duo with him and Yao Ming. Unfortunately, we all know the history of both guys having to deal with injuries for their entire careers in Houston.
However, that doesn’t take away from Tracy giving fans lots to enjoy, like his famous monster dunk over Shawn Bradley in the playoffs or him leading a Rockets team on a 22-game winning streak. He’ll be remembered for moments like that. Notably, both Rockets superstars from that era are now HOFers, Yao being inducted last year.
After leaving Houston, McGrady played for other teams, but wasn’t ever an impactful player again. His career was cut short due to attrition and a number of injuries that never let him be the same again. That being true, McGrady was about a minute away from a championship ring in the 2013 Finals with the Spurs, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Tracy McGrady is where he should be in the Hall of Fame, forever immortalized as a great and as a Houston Rocket. Eventually, the greatness of his career will be remembered without the no-title baggage. Either way, he’ll always have a special place in Red Nation’s heart.
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