Ask any Orlando Magic fan to create an all-time team and one name that will almost assuredly make the list is former swingman Tracy McGrady.
A native of Central Florida, McGrady spent four seasons with the Magic and remains the team’s all-time leader in points per game at 28.1 per contest. McGrady was an All-Star in each of his four seasons with the Magic and won two NBA scoring titles. His debut in Orlando came on this day 20 years ago.
After spending his first three years with the Toronto Raptors, McGrady came to Orlando during what was a busy offseason for the Magic. After averaging a career-high 15.4 points with the Raptors, McGrady was expected to be a complimentary piece to newly-acquired Grant Hill.
While Hill spent most of his Orlando career battling injuries, it didn’t take long for McGrady to assert himself as the face of the franchise.
After a 41-41 campaign under first-year head coach Doc Rivers, the Magic opened the 2000-01 campaign with a home contest against the Washington Wizards on Oct. 31, 2000. In his Magic debut, McGrady finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in a 97-86 victory.
Statistically, Washington was right there with Orlando. The Wizards actually shot a better percentage and won the battle on the glass with 44 rebounds to 37 for the Magic. The difference was 26 turnovers committed by the Wizards. Through three quarters, it was just a three-point game.
The final 12 minutes saw McGrady take over in his Magic debut. After Washington scored to draw within one early in the fourth quarter, McGrady scored six straight points during a 10-0 run for the Magic. From there, the contest would never get closer than seven.
McGrady capped his night with 11 points in the fourth quarter. McGrady’s 32 points was a career-high at the time, but he would eclipse that four times before the calendar turned to January. His 12 rebounds was also a game-high on a night where he shot 11-for-25 from the field.
McGrady had arrived, but it was hardly a one-man effort. Center John Amaechi added 14 points in the win while Darrell Armstrong and Pat Garrity each tallied 10. In his Magic debut, Hill scored nine points and dished out a game-high 10 assists. Felipe Lopez finished with 16 points to lead four Wizards in double figures.
Although he never was able to get Orlando past the first round of the NBA playoffs, McGrady led the Magic to winning seasons and playoff appearances in each of his first three seasons with the Magic. His memorable debut came on this day two decades ago.