It’s been 9 years since Tracy McGrady last put on the #1 Orlando Magic jersey that his childhood idol, Penny Hardaway, wore during the 90s. The bad thing about time going by is you often forget how great somebody or something was. The good thing about time going by is we often forgive along with forget mistakes and issues from the past. When T-Mac was traded to the Houston Rockets for Steve Francis in 2004, one very important member of the Orlando Magic staff called McGrady his least favorite Magic player ever! Considering McGrady was a 4 time All-NBA player and 4 time All-Star that lead the league in scoring twice in 4 years with the Orlando Magic, it’s hard to imagine how sour the relationship between McGrady and certain members of the Magic organization became. But, as I mentioned, as time is forgotten so are past problems and when the Orlando Magic play their first home game of the their 25th season on November 1st against the Pelicans, Tracy McGrady will be there and will be happy to be there as he will be honored at half-time by the franchise that proudly convinced him to sign with them instead of Chicago in 2000.
Although the duo of McGrady and Yao Ming, when healthy, were as dangerous as any combo in the league, I always wondered how things would have been had the Magic taken their chances and not traded him to Houston and seen if playing with the rookie Dwight Howard would have convinced T-Mac to not bolt the way Shaq did before him and Dwight would eventually do.
As for T-Mac’s replacement, Steve Francis did a great job of playing the superstar role in his first season with Orlando but his second season quickly turned into a disaster and the day before the trade deadline, the Magic traded the disgruntled Francis and his massive salary for Trevor Ariza and Orlando’s original superstar guard Penny Hardaway. Unfortunately the injured Penny didn’t get a chance to put on that #1 Magic jersey again because he was waived 5 days later.
Hopefully the Magic will be bringing Penny back one more time and honoring him in the upcoming months of their 25th Anniversary Season. Then his Orlando teammate Shaquille O’Neal who, like McGrady, also left on bad terms, but that was a long long time ago and time says it’s time to celebrate the good times and not the bad.
With that said, Comedy may equal Tragedy + Time but not enough time has gone by for Orlando to celebrate Dwight despite Dwight being the franchise’s leader in points, rebounds, blocks, free throws, games played and minutes.
In 2003, I made this pretty bizarre tribute to McGrady and 10 years later it remains the most bizarre tribute to T-mac on the web.