After his stellar career in the NBA, Tracy McGrady transitioned to China to continue playing the game he loves and make a little money, as well. From the moment T-Mac stepped off the plane, the people of China have expressed their overwhelming adoration for the former NBA All-Star. McGrady played so well on the other side of the world, the Chinese Basketball Association recently retired his number.
McGrady’s lack of playoff success turned him into a cult hero of sorts. He was arguably a top-five player for a significant stretch during the 2000s, including his 2002-03 campaign, which is one of the best individual seasons of all-time. But whether it was injuries or poor team construction, T-Mac could never find the playoff success he so richly deserved. We blame his surrounding team.
His dynamic playing style not only resonated with fans in the United States, but across the globe. It’s not surprising T-Mac garnered such a visceral reaction from fans in China, considering they watched him team for years with native son, Yao Ming.
He was one of the NBA’s most exciting players during his prime, and even if he lost a step, he could still provide those thrilling moments on occasion. During his time with the Qingdao Double Stars in 2013, T-Mac put up 25 points per game and even turned the clock back by pulling off this dunk.
After T-Mac left the Chinese Basketball Association for a brief run with the San Antonio Spurs, he returned to China for an NBA legends tour and hit a really fun game-winner. It only added to his legendary status in the region.
McGrady is the most notable player to ever participate in a Chinese Basketball Association; well, except for this guy. The brief, but electric atmosphere he brought to the world’s most populous country is more than enough reason to retire his jersey.