Remembering T-Mac

Ronald Martinez

Tracy McGrady has officially retired from the NBA, which means it's time to reminisce.

While I have always been a die-hard Spurs fan, for some reason I have always appreciated T-Mac's game. Perhaps because of his sleepy demeanor or because of the spectacular plays he was capable of. Since he singlehandedly carried the Spurs to the 2012-13 NBA Finals had a pretty incredible career, I thought it would be appropriate to pay McGrady a tribute and give Spurs fans a chance to enjoy some of his finer moments.

Hardwood Paroxysm has a cool piece about what bloggers remember about T-Mac's career. If you want some interesting opinions about McGrady, and are ready for some information that you might not have seen or heard about otherwise, it's worth checking this article out. Also included: Scott Leedy's opinion on what he will remember most about McGrady:

Natural. Everything always seemed so effortless with McGrady. It was like watching Griffey Jr. swing a bat or early 2000s Tiger Woods swing a golf club. Unlike Lebron James who seemingly obliterated the matrix, T-Mac always seemed to be inextricably linked to the fabric of the game. In some ways it fit with the idea that McGrady didn't practice hard enough. His game didn't look like it had been honed through hours of work in the gym; it didn't need to be. What was there for McGrady to man make that the gods hadn't already given him? His scoring ability was obvious. His ball handling was exceptional for a player even half his size and his passing amongst the best ever for a wing. Everything on the court came so naturally to McGrady it's jarring that the wins and accolades didn't follow suit. Talent doesn't always win, but in this case it should have.

Nobody ever questioned McGrady's talent throughout his 16-year tenure but like all NBA superstars, there were critics of his game. Tom Ziller recently wrote a great editorial about McGrady and Allen Iverson and how the media and critics often unfairly portrayed them. Here's a quote I particularly liked:

But with guys like Kobe, it's always been couched in genuflection: "Kobe is incredible, but..." With our weird protagonists, that hasn't always been the case. Just look at Weisbrod's comment on T-Mac again:

"I think a superstar is defined by wins, by making the players around him better, and by making the team better."

Back in the early 2000s, the difference between Kobe and T-Mac wasn't that Kobe made the players around him better. It was that the players around Kobe were better. Kobe had Shaq. T-Mac had Pat Garrity. Because T-Mac wasn't a traditional prototype, Weisbrod could get away with his critique. He shouldn't have.

While T-Mac is often criticized for his inability to lead a team past the first round, he is still an all-time great. And as with all great players, the Hall of Fame question must come up at the end of such a fantastic run. There are many recent articles about why McGrady does or does not belong in the Hall of Fame, and Sean Highkin over at For the Win makes a strong case for T-Mac.

By any measure, T-Mac is a Hall of Famer. This is true even though injuries cut his prime short. It's true even though playoff success eluded him, and his only taste of the second round, let alone the Finals, was in his benchwarmer role on this year's Spurs. His peak years in ability and health were so transcendently great that it would be impossible to justify keeping him out.

So, what do you guys think? Is T-Mac worthy of the Hall of Fame or will his injury-riddled career and inability to lead a team out of the first round impede any chance he has? Do his mediocre teammates completely explain his early playoff exits?

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