The news of former NBA star guard Tracy McGrady’s retirement from the NBA didn’t move crowds like when Michael Jordan settled on his decision or when Shaquille O’Neal bowed out from the Association. McGrady had been pretty insignificant over the last few years after monstrous careers in Orlando and Houston following his introduction into the NBA as a high school draftee by the Toronto Raptors alongside his more famous cousin Vince Carter. So it was easy to forget about the slender wingman after all the talk the last few years about Miami’s Big Three, Dwight Howard and Oklahoma City’s rise (and fall). But few remember what McGrady actually did as a member of the Magic, when his performances carried him step-for-step in the conversation about whether he or Kobe Bryant was the best player in the NBA at the time. With career averages of 4.4 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 19.6 points per game, McGrady was the Scottie Pippen of his day but does he deserve a Hall of Fame call? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question.
Riley: McGrady definitely deserves a shot at the Hall. His career averages are already on par with Scottie Pippen, who’s a surefire lock thanks to six titles, but for a stretch of nearly seven years, McGrady was a coldblooded scorer who lit up several arenas many a nights. Starting with his first year with the Magic in 2000 as a 21-year-old, McGrady averaged 26.8, 25.6 32.1 and 28 points over the next four seasons before he was traded to Houston in 2004. That’s a 28-point average that he left Orlando with while schooling defenders along the way. His numbers dipped off as a Rocket but he still averaged close to 25 points in his first few years with Houston before injuries took its toll. He’s Hall material.
Green: No way, Riley. For all the points McGrady scored, he never did anything in the postseason. And that’s where legends are made, right? You’re talking about a guy who could never, ever get out the first round and you want to reward him with a spot in the Hall of Fame? We used to compare Kobe Bryant to McGrady but Bryant was always more determined than him. Some may question who had the better skill set and McGrady was very talented, but that selfish gene that Bryant has led him to obviously a lot more success than “T-Mac.” Keep this in mind, He never was an active member of a team that won a playoff series until this year with San Antonio Spurs.
Riley: I understand his failings in the postseason but those years in Orlando were wasted by poor management and the fact that Grant Hill could never get healthy. I hate blaming guys for not winning especially when parts of their surrounding roster wouldn’t even make it on most other teams. But poor roster aside, McGrady was a dominant talent and should be remembered as such.
Green: Such a dominant talent that he couldn’t crack the first round? I’m not buying it Riley. McGrady was a fantastic scorer and excellent basketball player but we have to stop rushing everyone into the Hall of Fame just because they were good. Every player in the NBA is good. Was McGrady an elite player? Yes, of course. But did he win rings, MVPs and compete at a high level? No. Let’s keep all of that in mind before we cast a ballot.