Tracy McGrady has had a big 2017, headlined by his selection to the Basketball Hall of Fame; he and the rest of the 2017 class will be inducted this September 8th. And recently the seven-time All-Star swingman and two-time scoring champion, best known for his tenures with the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic, sat down with NBA TV’s Sekou Smith for a video interview.
“[Until Orlando,] I knew I was good, but I didn’t know I was 25 points per game good,” said McGrady.
The Magic, under John Gabriel, famously cleared almost their entire salary cap so they could spend big in the free-agent summer of 2000. They didn’t quite land Tim Duncan, the most coveted star, but they did manage to sign McGrady and Grant Hill, hoping to form a dynamic duo on the wings which could lead them to title contention.
“I loved watching G. Hill when he was in Detroit,” McGrady said. “So I’m like, ‘Man, now this is my team,’ right? And G. Hill is not available to play. He’s obviously out with his ankle injury. So it’s on me to be handed the keys, a 21-year-old.”
McGrady went on to average 26.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game in his first season with the Magic, earning his first All-Star selection. But Hill played only four games that year, and McGrady said he felt Hill’s absence when it came to leadership.
“I’m the best player on this team and I gotta lead guys that are older than I am,” said McGrady. “As far as basketball, being on the court, that was the easy part. But how do I lead? I don’t have the capabilities of leading.”
That pressure, according to McGrady, was far more intense than anything else he faced in Orlando.
The interview spans McGrady’s whole career, from his early days as a preps-to-pros Toronto Raptors prospect to his days teaming with Yao Ming on the Rockets. It’s well worth checking out, as will be his Hall of Fame induction in September.