Tracy McGrady didn’t have the longevity of some of the other NBA greats such as Tim Duncan or Karl Malone, but for a period in the early to mid 2000s he was like a supernova that captivated the NBA and fans around the world with his elite athleticism, skill and scoring ability for a player his size.
McGrady will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September as a member of the 2017 class after a 15-year career that included two NBA scoring titles, seven NBA All-Star appearances and seven All-NBA appearances.
McGrady never won an NBA title and was never a contributor for an NBA team that made it out of the first round (he was on the Spurs for the 2012-13 playoffs but didn’t play), he wanted to make it be known that making the Hall of Fame is a bigger accomplishment than winning an NBA title and he did so over the weekend.
Here is what he told MassLive when asked about it:
“Social media can give a lot of people voices these days, and the first thing they say is ‘No rings, no rings,’” McGrady said on Friday, in an appearance at the Hall of Fame’s 60 Days of Summer Program. “You have to have a great team and some luck to get a ring, right? Unfortunately, I wasn’t blessed with that. But I go back at them with this: Anybody can win a championship. Everybody can’t get in the Hall of Fame.”
I agree with McGrady’s logic on this, luck, situation and many other factors outside of a superstar’s control affect the ability for a team to win an NBA title in a given year or era, and people do tend to focus a little too much on rings when discussing individual greatness.
For example, if McGrady had been able to play with the level of talent that Kobe Bryant (the one shooting guard that was clearly better than McGrady in his era) had for much of his career, it is inconceivable to think that he wouldn’t have at least one NBA championship if not multiple as well.
It is harder for a player to make the hall of fame than it is to be a part of a championship winning team. The big knock on McGrady’s career (coming from a huge T-Mac fan) still rings true though, he was never able to lift his team to postseason success on any level. While injuries and bad luck took their toll as well as questionable supporting casts in Orlando, McGrady never appeared to have the leadership to elevate his teammates like some of the greatest players in the history of the game have.
McGrady is worthy of a hall of fame election, but he will never be talked about in the same breath as a Kobe Bryant or a Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett or many other greats in his era because he was never able to be a winner at the level they were.