Former NBA star Tracy McGrady thinks about it now that he's retired.
McGrady teamed with his cousin Vince Carter with the Toronto Raptors as a high flying, athletic duo that could have wreaked havoc on the NBA. The team had made it's first playoff run and were poised to become an Eastern Conference contender. Instead, McGrady wanted to get out of Carter's shadow and signed with the Orlando Magic in the summer of 2000. The Raptors eventually fell a Carter jump shot short of knocking off the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals the next season in which McGrady would've made the difference in the seven game series.
Now reflecting on what could have been a legendary NBA career if injuries didn't rob him of his athletic gifts, McGrady says he wishes he stayed in Toronto as told to the Toronto Sun's Dave Feschuk.
“In hindsight, looking back, obviously I wish I had stayed in Toronto,” McGrady was saying in a recent telephone interview from his home in the Houston area. “There’s no doubt we could have contended for a championship. I think about that often. But if ‘if’ was a fifth, you know?”
“There’s no doubt we would have won that series if I would have been there,” McGrady said. “We had incredible camaraderie. You can’t duplicate that, man. Big brothers, little brothers — we had a mix. And me and Vince were in the perfect situation. You’ve got the two young superstars and you’ve got these old vets. They were our force field. They protected us from anything that happened on that basketball court. They did all the dirty work. And all we had to do was just concentrate on putting the ball in the hoop and guarding who we were guarding. It was just such a great time in my career.
“Had I been a little older and wiser and knew what was ahead of me, I would have stayed, no doubt, with those guys. But that was some of the best times of my life, man. Being with (Charles) Oakley and Kevin Willis and Antonio Davis, Muggsy (Bogues), Dell Curry, Dee Brown. Man. I still talk to a lot of those guys to this day. Because I appreciated how they looked out for me. They were all professionals.”
“At the time I’m trying to make a decision whether to stay in freezing Toronto or go home to Orlando. ... I just thought it was a no-brainer. As I said, if I’d been a little older and a little wiser maybe things would have been different. ... It’s definitely something I always sit back and reminisce about, thinking about Toronto and what we could have been.”
Sounds more factual than sour grapes if you ask me. The Raptors might have been very good, maybe the best in a watered down Eastern Conference back then. The team had a good veteran core and the young superstars to make a run at the finals. But it never happened.
McGrady toiled on some bad Orlando teams and eventually was traded to the Houston Rockets but was never able to get out of the first round of the playoffs.
McGrady doesn't come off as angry. Just reflecting on what might have been had he stayed with the team that drafted him.
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