|Tracy McGrady is retiring from the NBA after 16 seasons. (bleacherreport.com)|
It's sometimes hard to remember, what now with the likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard dominating the game. Tracy McGrady never reached LeBron or Kobe status, but he was one of the best offensive players in the league just as LeBron was entering it.
McGrady is retiring from the NBA after 16 seasons and seven all-star appearances. That is an eternity in professional basketball standards. McGrady held on well past his prime, now just a sliver of the greatness he exhibited for more than a decade.
Young NBA fans today know of McGrady, but they only remember the twilight years. That's the only problem with holding on to the limelight for as long as possible. What some tend to remember is the last four years spent with five teams, the last in San Antonio when he didn't even play, averaging less than 10 points per game.
That was not the McGrady who was an offense force for most of his career. That was what was left of a great player trying to fight off age and injury.
Let's not let those last few years overshadow how dominant McGrady was throughout his career. Despite averaging seven and 9.3 ppg his first to seasons and 8.2, eight and 5.3 his final three, McGrady still averaged 19.6 ppg for his career.
McGrady will be remembered most for his Orlando years after spending his first three seasons in Toronto. McGrady averaged four of his five highest totals of his career in Orlando in four seasons with 26.8, 25.6, 32.1 and 28 ppg. He then had four more years averaging more than 20 ppg in Houston.
McGrady was a household name in the early to mid 2000s. People wore his Magic and Rockets jerseys and bought his Adidas shoes. Kids pretended to be T-Mac playing in the driveway. Watch his career highlights and it becomes clear why. Like when he scored 13 points in 33 seconds against San Antonio, or his monster dunk on Shawn Bradley. And he was always good for a few passes to himself off the backboard. All of these can be found in the video below.
McGrady is calling it quits in the NBA but is leaving the door open to playing overseas. It's difficult for great players to walk away from the game they've know for so long, which is understandable. It's impossible to find the thrill of competition outside of the game.
What McGrady doesn't need is to continue playing for his legacy. That has been written already. If McGrady does extend his already successful career, let's just hope the next chapter doesn't overshadow his greatness from not that long ago.
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