About Tracy McGrady
7 Time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady, known to the world as “T-Mac,” was born in Bartow, FL. He grew up in Auburndale, FL, a town of about 9,000, it is surrounded by lakes and rests between Orlando and Tampa.
At Auburndale High, he quickly became a two-sport star. He loved baseball and had aspirations of playing in the Major Leagues. Some Auburndale coaches were certain that McGrady would be playing in a Major League ballpark instead of on a NBA court.
After his junior year at Auburndale High School in Florida, he was invited to play in the ABCD Camp. During the senior all-star game, he dribbled down the left wing on a fast break and found only James Felton, a 6’9” blue-chipper from NJ committed to St Johns, between him and the basket. Tracy went up, cupped the ball in his right hand, and threw down a windmill dunk over James. He sent the whole gym into frenzy. “After I made that dunk, I had chills run through my body. It’s like the moment I knew I had finally arrived,” Tracy said. While he was not included in the list of the top 500 prospects before the summer, Tracy was ranked #2 behind Lamar Odom, in the next edition of the list. He was even featured in a 3-page article in the February 10, 1997 issue of Sports Illustrated.
Joe Hopkins, the basketball coach at Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, North Carolina offered Tracy a scholarship to Mount Zion, and the rest is history.
The 6-foot-8, 200-pound prep-star, who played all five positions at Durham’s Mount Zion Christian Academy, announced his decision to make himself available for the June 25 1997 NBA draft. “I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” said Tracy, “I considered college, but my dream is to make it to the top, and I had a chance to do that earlier.”
On draft day Tracy was the 9th pick by the Toronto Raptors. On that day he joined the list of players like Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and Jermaine O’Neal, who successfully made the jump from high school to the NBA. Tracy’s stint with the Raptors lasted from 1997-2000, and gave him the opportunity to play alongside his cousin, Vince Carter. The duo were contestants in the NBA’s Slam dunk contest in 2000, where Carter edged out McGrady for the title. After a few seasons in Carter’s shadow, Tracy was traded to the Orlando Magic in 2000 for a first round draft pick. The trade paid off immediately for the Magic as McGrady blossomed into a superstar in Orlando. In his first season in Florida, Tracy won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award, and was named as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. Two seasons later he won the NBA’s scoring title by scoring over 32 points a game, making him the youngest winner of the prestigious title since the NBA/ABA merger. The following season McGrady won the scoring title again, averaging 28 points a game. He also scored his career-high of 62 points that season against the Washington Wizards on March 10, 2004.
In June of 2004, Tracy was traded to the Houston Rockets in a seven-player deal. The trade gave him a fresh start on a new team, and also paired him up with 7’6” Yao Ming. Tracy led them to a fifth place finish in the Western Conference, but the team was eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks in a hard fought seven game series. The 2005-06 season was plagued by injuries for Tracy, and the Rockets failed to reach the playoffs. In 2006-07 Tracy led the Rockets to a 52-win season, their best finish in over a decade, but lost a tough series in 7 games to the Utah Jazz. Visibly emotional after the series, Tracy vowed to do everything in his power to take the Rockets even further in the 2007-2008 season. In 2008 the Rockets won 22 consecutive games in a row, for the 2nd longest winning streak in NBA history. The Rockets entered the post season in the 5th seat and once again faced the Utah Jazz. Even in the absence of Yao Ming, who suffered a broken foot in February to keep him out of the second half of the season, the Rockets fought hard, even taking game 3 on Utah’s home court. Despite McGrady’s 40 points and 10 rebounds, the Rockets lost game six and were once again knocked out in the first round (4-2).
Tracy McGrady is committed to using the Foundation to enhancing the lives of children through empowering and encouraging them through literacy and education.
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