Upon announcing his retirement from the NBA on Monday, Tracy McGrady has put an end to a career in The Association that, at the very least, warrants worthy consideration for a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Seven all-star appearances (and another one in China's CBA in 2013, to boot), seven "All-NBA" selections, two NBA scoring titles, and sixteen years later, McGrady's great accomplishments may always still be clouded by his inability to stay healthy over the course of his career. Still, with Bernard King now in the Hall of Fame as well, every eligible NBA scoring title champion to play the game has been honored in Springfield. That puts T-Mac in promising company, to say the least.
Despite all his past greatness, what the 34 year old will still be remembered for most amongst Knicks fans will be his 24 game stint in the Big Apple back in 2010.
Though, there was in fact, a glimmer of hope that McGrady would potentially return back to respectable NBA starter status as a member of the Knicks, his 9.4 points (on 39% shooting from the field), 3.9 assists, and 3.7 rebounds averages suggested otherwise. Still, the acquisition of the seven-time all-star was about so much more than simply just himself.
By shipping out the likes of Larry Hughes, Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill, and some NBA Draft day assets, New York reeled in McGrady and Sergio Rodriguez in a three-team trade. Of course, what McGrady's massive expiring contract signified for the Knickerbockers was a potential promising change of fortunes in the near future.
Upon acquiring McGrady and a plethora of other players whose contracts were set to come off the books that summer, New York put themselves in position to sign multiple top notch free agents. Of course, the most notable of the bunch was LeBron James.
Every Knick fan and their mother knows what happened after that. James avoided the Big Apple spotlight, but now stands tall with two NBA titles in Miami.
But now, at least the Knicks can say they're still in the hunt for a championship victory of their own. That's a hell of a lot more than they could say in 2010 upon acquiring McGrady.
Though Amar'e Stoudemire's injury problems have hit the Knicks hard as they continue to bite the team in the butt, there's no doubt that his acquisition began the domino effect towards potential greatness. The likes of Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler would not have been intrigued enough to venture to the Big Apple, had it not been for Stoudemire's own bold presence.
With the strong foundation the trio has provided the team with, Glen Grunwald (and previously Donnie Walsh) has been able to build a little bit of an impressive squad. The likes of fan-favorites J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton, Kenyon Martin, Pablo Prigioni, and now even Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih, have all signed to play in New York because they sense something special is on the cusp of being accomplished.
Of course, the acquisition of McGrady further put the wheels in motion to embark on such a journey. His time as a New York Knick was about his contract, much more than it was about himself as a player.
Even so, he's certainly earned the right to have basketball fans everywhere tip their caps off to his fantastic NBA career. Too bad he couldn't have been a part of something more special with the Knicks to reflect back on at a time like this.