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Tracy McGrady, “he brought basketball to an entire country.” In 1999 when I was living back home in Ireland, Tracy started 34 games for the Toronto Raptors and he averaged 15.4 PPG. Jim Barnett always says “It usually takes til the 3rd year of your career, before you get it.” Well Tracy certainly did, compiling eighteen, twenty point or more games at 20 years of age. That turned out to be just a glimpse into the Hall of Famer’s future. Here are some highlights for your enjoyment, by Maxamillion711, from that season:

In the Toronto Raptors inagural 1995 season it was such an amazingly deep first round which even had Michael Finley from hoop dreams which we all saw in theatres left on the board at 14, that the little guy from Arizona, who though lead by the coach recruiting I had heard of by word of mouth, Lute Olsen. Lemme get a quick Bear Down in there for @SteveKerr, @Andre & @Byronjr23… Slipped through the crack. Mighty Mouse as we all call Damon Stoudamire had young men wearing jerseys all over this city. School yards, gyms, out in the streets. Then in 1996 Toronto nabbed Marcus Camby who played one of the best tournament’s in Red for the UMASS Minutemen of All-Time, with the number 2 pick. Just for the record, I see a lot of Camby in JaVale McGee‘s game and have high hopes he can reach that level of play. The 9th overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, by the Toronto Raptors who had the coolest new franchise because of their college player selections and their Uni’s, just got a stud! As I kept a running record of all the Draft picks I had personally scouted for the Warriors which up to this point consisted of Jerry Stackhouse, Steve Nash and yes Tracy McGrady. I already had seen both McGrady and his cousin Vince Carter play in the McDonald’s All-American games in 1997 & 1995 respectively, and came away impressed. I was happy enough when the Warriors drafted Vince Carter in 1998, but admittedly was a huge Antawan Jamison fan, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy with the trade, although I can still remember the way Vince used to drop step from the free-throw line and dunk over everything in his way and that flashed through my head when the trade was made.

Back to the Raptors. You include the 1998 Draft and you have a championship team. Why they were ever broken apart was like a league wide conspiracy, where Canada wasn’t American enough to have all these all-stars. To be quite honest I don’t know why the team ever broke up, was it a rock band syndrome where everyone got too big for their own good. I’ve been taught not to pry into the personal lives of athletes so I’m not going to start now. I just thought I’d clear the air about that.

Then it might have been just going back home to Florida. He signed with Orlando to play for the Magic Kingdom, another legendary team. The squad featured the likes of Grant Hill, my all-time favorite power forward Horace Grant, Patrick Ewing, Mike Miller, Shawn Kemp, and yes the only Irish🇮🇪 born NBA player in the history of the game (that I know of) Pat Burke. More on Ireland and Basketball another time.

Orlando Magic Top 10 via @NBA

52 points vs Chicago 2/21/03

In 2002 I along with the rest of the world was sold on Yao Ming. People had their own t-shirts “Everybody Yao Ming Tonight” being an example of one, I personally had a catchy tune I’d sing sing in front of everyone, but we’re not going there. McGrady joined the Houston Rockets in 2004. It seemed to me as though Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming never lost when they were both on the court together. I’m not going to get into the stats of it, but I’ll just say, as a Warriors fan it wasn’t just the twin towers that made us moan about the Texas road trips.

Congrats are in order for Tracy McGrady from across the globe, and I hope to one day see him myself at the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

P.S. I’m certain someone is hard at work putting together the Tracy McGrady HoF Mix 😉

Check that, Clyde Graffix was one step ahead of me, and I like it.