The Big Sleep: Top 10 Dunks Of Tracy McGrady’s Career

Do you ever find yourself bored at work, surfing YouTube and getting sucked into old highlights? The old Tracy McGrady tapes, the really old ones from back in Toronto and the first few years in Orlando can get you thinking. You see the elbow sweat band, the long gait, the knee straps, the rawness of his whole game from the way his jumpers would sometimes careen to the side or how many of his points came off wild, leaning shots in the lane.

We will never get rid of Tracy McGrady, mostly because lost potential, and lost greatness is the worst thing of all. The best of ‘Mac was fleeting and that’s why we cherish it.

Back in the day, T-Mac could jump. But he was different than the way Kobe dunked or the way Vince dunked. It was all longer, like a boa stretching farther and farther, or an octopus expanding and consuming. A top 10 Tracy McGrady dunk list was coming, and it’s been coming ever since one muggy afternoon in the summer of 1996 when McGrady put down the most mythical dunk in the history of this game. As far as I know, no video exists of the dunk that changed the careers of both McGrady and James Felton. If we did have video, it would be No. 1. Instead, here are the top 10 dunks of McGrady’s career.

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10. Over David Robinson
It was Jason Terry once who described this dunk as an MJ dunk, one where you get up in the air not knowing what you’re gonna do and then just coming up with something crazy. In mid-air, T-Mac wasn’t as creative as some of the game’s greatest swingmen, but this one was good enough. Twisting and turning, then throwing it reverse on a man who was still an upper-echelon defensive center gets you into the top 10.

9. B.M.O.C.
Stop it at :30 seconds to see one of the illest high school facials you will ever find. It’s all there, everything you need for a perfect dunk. Even in high school, McGrady had it. This one gets extra points for being HoopsTV footage anyways.

8. Over Othella Harrington & the Knicks
I think this was officially the last time Othella ever tried to block another shot.

7. Bulldozing through Canada
Vince better watch out. I’m gonna be playing him and I know all his moves…Okay, we will see. He says he wants to guard me? Okay… No sibling rivalry ever took on a life like the VC/T-Mac feud during the summer of 2000, when this much was clear: McGrady didn’t want to take a backseat any longer. Those words stung Carter. Then, McGrady went out and drove them home.

6. T-Mac nearly jumps out of the building
Watching McGrady in Toronto was a chore. He missed open 15 footers, dribbled the ball out of bounds, made insanely difficult shots in the lane and then bricked free throws. But once every month or so, he would do something like this…

5. Over Mehmet Okur
There are very few dunks that actually move me, very few where I can recite, exactly what I was doing, where I was, what I said when I saw it and in what context it happened. I’ve spoken on this dunk before. For some reason, maybe the way Brent Musburger speaks or the sound the dunk makes or how hard the ball ricochets off Okur’s face, I’ve always loved this dunk. LeBron James was at this game. They interviewed him right after the jam, and he sounded like he was trying to describe a UFO sighting.

4. Over Kornel David
He should’ve got out of the way because McGrady had a head of steam. He should’ve got out of the way because McGrady had the angle. He should’ve got out of the way because the Bulls were already down by about 113 points. He should’ve got out of the way because McGrady has a 7-2 wingspan. But most of all, he should’ve got out of the way because that’s Tracy McGrady and he’s Kornel David.

3. Off the Backboard
We’re so bored this summer that we’re celebrating off-the-glass jams by guys in summer leagues. McGrady was such a boss he pulled this out in an exhibition game. It worked. REALLY well. Then he nodded, making that sly smirk and went for it in the next phase: the All-Star game. It got everyone up, even Michael Jordan. Ah, maybe we have something here. The last test was in-game action, not against scrubs, not in a blowout, but in the flow of the game. You and me, we use the backboard to help with our wing jumpers. Tracy, he used it to divide and conquer. Ironic that a legendary streetball player was the man McGrady decided to test it on. Not surprisingly, even he couldn’t stop the Big Sleep.

2. Over Shawn Bradley
The biggest tease of T-Mac’s career. A 2-0 lead heading home, it should’ve been a wrap for the “Can’t get out of the first round” moniker. Somehow it all fell apart. Normally, basketball players hit their peak for about two to three years somewhere between 25-29. But with girls, mapping out their trajectory is always difficult. Some hit the apex in high school and then by the time they’re 24, it’s already downhill, the makeup not doing the trick anymore. Then others are late bloomers, who once they graduate from high school, you lose touch only for her to resurface again in a few years, looking phenomenal. There are also the good girls – who take years to find the touch – and the head cases, switching up their looks so often, you swear they were hotter at 16 than 21. With ‘Mac, this felt like his peak. Now looking back, we were already well past it.

1. Over Keon Clark & all of Toronto
I don’t care if you are flabbergasted Shawn Bradley isn’t number one. I’ll take this one, the “Vince, where you going? We out, all the way to the rim, get off me Keon and move aside please, Toronto have some” dunk. Quick, stop the tape at :34 seconds. Hit pause. That’s a nice way to end this.

What do you think? Am I missing any?

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