A year after Kobe Bryant was drafted out of Lower Merion High School into the NBA, Tracy McGrady made the jumper when he was selected with the ninth pick in the 1997 Draft by the Raptors. Now, 17 years later, the two worked out together in Southern California so T-Mac could test his body to see if a comeback attempt was possible, Yahoo Sports reports.
McGrady played the 2012-13 season in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) after being unable to land a guaranteed deal in the NBA. His popularity in China is still high after he teamed with Yao Ming on the Rockets in the 2000s.
After his lone season in the CBA, he was signed by the San Antonio Spurs on the final day of the regular season for their Finals run against the Heat, which they lost in Game 7. He didn’t play a single meaningful minute in that run, and promptly announced his retirement afterwards.
Now, a year after his official retirement, he admits he’s played against the recuperating Kobe in an effort to gauge his body’s preparedness for a comeback. Here’s Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting:
Retired seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady worked out with Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant late this summer in a Southern California gymnasium, testing the preparedness of his body for a possible NBA comeback attempt.
“Yes, I was working out with K.B. to get in shape and see how my body feels,” McGrady told Yahoo Sports in an email Tuesday night.
Bryant and McGrady, 35, worked out three days a week for a period of time in August, several sources, including McGrady, told Yahoo.
At least two NBA teams were contacted over the summer about their potential interest in McGrady, but none registered a desire to further explore the possibility, league executives told Yahoo Sports.
In October, when NBA training camps begin, McGrady is contractually obligated to appear in a profitable Asian basketball tour, so he wouldn’t be able to catch on with a team during that time.
“The comeback will not happen, unless I have the drive whenever I get back,” McGrady told Yahoo in the email.
McGrady suffered through a number of late-career injuries to his knee and back, which cut his NBA career short, despite seven all-star appearances, two scoring titles, and five times being named to an All-NBA First or Second team.
In the spring this year, McGrady made his minor league pitching debut.
In August, McGrady spoke with Dime about his minor league baseball experience while playing against the top amateur talent at adidas Nations:
“It was fun. Baseball has always been a love of mine. I got to fill that dream. I’m glad that I was young enough to go out there and experience that. You know, it’s over now and it’s on to the next one.”
When we asked what he was going to do next, he was hazy about his plans, mentioning his four children, but not offering any clues about a possible NBA return:
Dime: Now that you’re playing career is over, you said earlier, “On to the next one.” Do you have any idea on what it is that you want to do next?
McGrady: I don’t really have an idea. I’ve got four kids at the house and it’s my priority to raise them and watch them become the person that they’re going to become.
We’ll have to wait and see if T-Mac is serious, and perhaps more importantly, how his body feels after that Asian tour in October. Still, we’re always in favor of T-Mac giving it another go, and squaring off against Kobe is a good way to test yourself.
Will McGrady make a comeback?
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