DimeMag

Thankfully, T-Mac Says He Has No Plans To Return To NBA, Despite Lakers Rumors

Perhaps you’ve read Les Carpenter’s sprawling feature on Tracy McGrady for Bleacher Report. In the piece, T-Mac says he’s “better than half the damn league, anyway,” and notes a fondness for playing with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers: “’This Kobe,’ he says. ‘I could play with him.’” Except in a Facebook post from earlier today, McGrady reiterates that he’s past his playing days.

Here’s the interesting part from Carpenter’s feature, which is really worth a read:

The back spasms that sabotaged his prime seasons are gone. The left knee pain that took away his speed has disappeared. He is fresh. He is certain if he works extra hard and gets into what he calls “tip-top” shape, he can matter for a team again. […] “I’m better than half the damn league, anyway,” he will later grumble.

“The thing is, I can still go, man,” T-Mac says. “My body is still in shape. I can go. It’s about opportunity, though. … I want no limits on who I am and what I can do, not stand in the corner and shoot jump shots,” he says. “I want to be involved, that’s not saying 10 to 15 shots, I want to be involved. I don’t want to stand in the corner and shoot threes. That’s not me.”

The ideal team, T-Mac says, would be the Lakers. The Lakers are inexperienced. The Lakers need players. He could be the second star the Lakers must have to go with Bryant. […] “This Kobe,” he says. “I could play with him.”

As we’ve noted, McGrady worked out with Kobe this past summer, and even hit a game-winning three-pointer during a stint in the Chinest Basketball League.

But lets all hold off on declaring this a comeback, he’s retired and happy to start his post-basketball life:

Whether it’s nostalgia for a bygone era in the NBA, or people’s reluctance to ever let one of the most popular players in the Association finally say goodbye, the idea that McGrady could be a productive member for a bad team like the Lakers is preposterous. That’s not to say McGrady couldn’t still contribute — he’d probably be the third best offensive player on the Lakers right now — it would be difficult for him to stay with any top-flight wings, and defense is where players really crumble when their playing days have wanned.

We prefer to remember the T-Mac who had fans gushing in Toronto, Orlando and Houston, rather than the hobbled bench role he played for the Knicks, Pistons and Hawks before lacing them up one more time as a playoff addition for the 2013 Spurs.

We love T-Mac, and we’re glad he realizes he’s already said his goodbyes even if we’ll always remember him as one of the most underrated — in that he never got past the first round of the playoffs — superstars of the 2000s.

Can McGrady still play in the NBA at a high level?

Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.

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