Originally posted on Around the Arc  |  Last updated 9/10/13
Tracy McGrady was a really, really good NBA player. Like with most freshly retired, really good yet not decidingly dominant players, people want to debate whether or not said player deserves to be enshrined in Springfield. Such speculation is a sports fan’s birth right, but when it comes to McGrady, the answer should be a resounding ‘yes.’ The case for McGrady is clear cut:7x NBA all-star2x NBA scoring champion7x All-NBA selection2001 NBA Most Improved Player57th most total points in NBA history (18,381)  Clearly, McGrady posted some nice, and may I say, hall-of-fame worthy numbers. All but eight eligible players ahead of him on the all-time scoring list have already been inducted, some less talented and far less multifaceted than McGrady. T-Mac did more than simply score. He had excellent court vision and awareness and finished his career with 4,161 assists. Throw in 5,276 career rebounds, a ball-on-a-string handle, and an aptitude on the defensive end, and you get the picture of a competent, well-rounded player.  Simple stats alone don’t complete the picture however. On the court, McGrady was as smooth as they came. He is what you would want to look like on a court. He made everything seem so seamless and easy that at time you would forget he was playing against the world’s best players. Kobe Bryant even recently revealed that McGrady was his toughest opponent; quite a compliment considering all of the great players Bryant has competed against since 1996.  “[McGrady] had all the skills and all the athleticism, but he was 6’9 and he was very tough to figure out,” Bryant stated, testifying to McGrady’s well-rounded skill set.  Image found on tumblr.com McGrady’s legacy amounts to more than numbers however. He was one of the rare players that was really able to resonate with an entire generation, as he was long one of the game’s most popular players. Kids wanted to be like McGrady, both on and off the court. They thought he was cool, they rocked his shoes and got his gear. Hell, he was able to successfully carry an entire Adidas line for several seasons, how many modern players can say that? (Don’t say Dwight Howard. Unlike Howard’s line, McGrady’s were unique, extremely nice, and actually sold). Also, it is impossible to discuss the decade in the NBA that occurred between 1999 and 2009 without mentioning McGrady. He falls in line with Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, and Kevin Garnett, among others, as those who helped to define that decade.  While these aren’t tangible attributes that can fit cleanly on a Hall-of-Fame plaque, it seems that any player who is representative of an era at large deserves to be enshrined in Springfield. McGrady failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs until he sat on the Spurs’ bench last postseason, serving as a high-profile cheerleader rather than an on-court contributor, and his lack of post-season success will undoubtedly be cited as the main argument against his Hall-of-Fame bid.   “If he was sooo good, how come he was unable to elevate a team out of the first round on a single occasion?” The point has validity, especially after witnessing first-hand what Allen Iverson was able to do with a less-than-stellar supporting cast. But, as Bill Simmons points out in his recent excellent expose of McGrady, the success of a team comes down to much more than a single star, and McGrady’s career was an unfortunate string of poor decisions, unlucky teammate timing, and injury issues. Despite this, McGrady delivered a decade worth of stellar stats and hundreds of highlights, while allowing his smooth style and unique offensive abilities to inspire millions of aspiring players.  Tracy McGrady is not a name that will be fast forgotten by the post-Jordan generation, despite his lack of post-season success. He was captivating on the court, and should be remembered more for what he accomplished than for what he did not. Tracy McGrady’s career, quite simply, is worthy of enshrinement. 
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