Tracy McGrady has decided to hang up his shoes and call it a career after 16 seasons in the NBA. He of course had his career start here with the Raptors as first round selection for the club. He would leave not feeling the love once his distant cousin Vince Carter arrived on the scene and took the spotlight away from him. He would sign with the Orlando Magic at 12:01am the first possible time he could do so when free agency opened. This after a season of saying he would strongly consider re-signing with the Raptors.
That was of course a lie you have to conclude given how quickly he made his exit stage left. He before it was cool to hate Vince Carter years later was Raptor fans public enemy number one. He thrived on that hate and said it was only because Raptors fans loved him and missed him that they booed. Speed ahead to modern day and many folks that are Raptors fans and heaping praise on him Even the Raptors via social media threw out the topic of if McGrady should be a Hall of Famer. He would be the first Raptor to earn that honour if it were to happen.
I fail to understand why people have so much love for a guy that turned his back on this franchise. In the reality we only got to see the start of what turned out to be an NBA Superstar and 7 times he was an All-Star…all of which came not as a Toronto Raptor.
McGrady will be a great case study to see if Vince Carter ever makes it to the NBA Hall of Fame someday. The distant cousins have a lot in common in terms of their NBA Careers. Both never truly had playoff success in their prime years in the league. McGrady famously never making it out of the first round for years and years as the man in Orlando and than Houston. While Vince Carter never got past the second round until the very late stages of his career with the Orlando Magic McGrady won a scoring title but never an MVP award. Carter of course won a Slam Dunk crown back when than that meant something but never a MVP award on his resume either.
While both have longevity and numbers to make them worthy of consideration for the Hall of Fame to me I would pass on both. In the end whatever Hall of Fame you want to talk about from the Basketball Hall of Fame to WWE Hall of Fame it involves in one form or another politics and opinions.
For me personally what defines a Hall of Famer is being the best of an era, a proven winner when it counts in the playoffs and after that will check your stats. Often Hall of Fames seems to work in reverse to that thinking. In baseball unless you are a suspected or proven steroid user or bet on baseball you are a lock if you reach certain milestone numbers. You hit 500 Home Runs, Win 300 games or get 3000 hits you are a virtual lock to make it.
Tracy McGrady was a capitalist first and loved the game second. I don’t mean that as harsh as it sounds but in his early young days McGrady was immature and in it to get paid. I will give credit to him as his career went on however as the injuries racked up he could have easily walked away and called it a career. He also late in his career accepted that his time had past and he was accepting of a role player. That is something that some stars like an Allen Iverson as an example could not do. He matured and I believe grew to love the game.
He even won some people back by trashing another Raptor Villain in the form of Chris Bosh. He stated that he never trashed the city or said anything bad about it like Chris Bosh had done. Vince Carter whether you choose to believe it has never either and we have certainly given him reason too. Vince Carter also inspired a generation of Canadians that we are starting to see emerge in the NBA and for Canada Basketball. Tracey was part of that at the start of things as well.
In recent years on OTR on TSN they had a show which featured Carter, McGrady and Charles Oakley in a sort of Raptor Reunion type show. In the context of that show you saw both Vince and Tracey kind of admit a little regret on what could have been in Toronto.
Kobe Bryant years earlier was quoted as saying that he believed had Carter and McGrady remained together he fully expected his Lakers with Shaq to be battling year in and year out with the Raptors for a title. That is perhaps what stings most of all for Raptor fans to this day.
But unlike Bryant who has an incredible killer instinct and many championships on his resume to his credit Carter and McGrady don’t. For my money both Carter and McGrady were satisfied to live off there freakish athletic ability and not as driven as Kobe Bryant, Lebron James or Kevin Durant. Two players that at the end of the day had great NBA careers but could have and should have been so much more.
That to me does not scream hall of Famer. It could still happen for both and would be a historic moment for the Raptors in being first players the Raptors drafted to find their way to the Hall of Fame. It would be a bitter sweet thing though if it happened. I don’t suspect you would ever see Tracy’s number 1 hanging in the rafters at the ACC. Mainly because most of what he accomplished in league came after he left. We only got a glimpse of what was to come. Vince likely never sees that day come either but there might be a little window of hope of that as time passes.
If it is possible to separate the bad blood that many feel towards both it still to me at least doesn’t make them Hall of Famers. I understand you can make a case for both but I just don’t see it for my money. That said in the time since both have been here not one player including Chris Bosh comes even close to this kind of consideration in my opinion.
In any case love or hate Tracy McGrady I do give him credit for fighting through so many injures to continue to play the game when he clearly never had too in the last few years. He has done a lot of growing up from the immature kid that turned his back on Toronto.