Most people don’t know this but TMac almost became a Houston Rocket in the late 90s. Their was supposedly an offer that would of sent Tmac to the Rockets in exchange for a near retired Kevin Willis. Somebody in Raptors management actually said “I don’t want to do this to you. He will be out of the league in a couple of years” so that trade didn’t happen but the Raptors did end up with Willis for Roy Rogers.
Not only did Tmac end up lasting 16 years but he had some of the most exciting and stat busting years I’ve ever seen. Tmac (and the film Kill Bill) inspired me so much that I actually got back into video editing around 2003 when I pulled out a vhs copy of “Five Deadly Venoms” and a couple hours of rare Tmac footage and put together a couple of mixes (bottom). Laugh now, but in 2003, years before YouTube and HD videos on the internet, these mixes were the shit!
Yesterday, Tmac posted on Facebook what might be the best farewell letter I’ve ever seen from a NBA player. I’ve been missing the old Tmac for years but I’m going to miss Tmac for good now. My only issue with him is when I was at FSU I heard we had a good chance of getting him (Kentucky was his 1st choice) but for some reason he chose to play in the NBA – where he belonged.
There are times in life that a new road presents itself and it appears this time has come for me now. I am so proud of what I have accomplished these past 15 years playing in the NBA. It was a dream entering the league as I just turned 18 years old. I worked hard and poured my heart and soul into this game. I consider myself a student of the game as I have watched, studied and played with and against the best players in the world. The NBA was my University and I learned so much. The gratitude I feel is really immeasurable. I have experienced the best moments a player can experience and have had some dark ones too. Both equally important in helping shape me into the man I am today.
As I leave the league for now, there have been so many profound people who inspired me along my way. I have to say thank you for guiding me and having an enormous influence on the way I played basketball. Isaiah Thomas, Rich Devos, Leslie Alexander and John Gabriel, you believed in me and I thank you. Jeff Van Gundy, you exemplified the brilliance of what a great coach is. Steven A. Smith, you gave us players a voice and for that I thank you. Doug Christy, Charles Oakley, Dee Brown, Mugsy Bogues, Antonio Davis, Dell Curry, Kevin Willis, you all showed a young kid from Auburndale Florida how to be a better player. Kobe, you made me work harder and it was an honor to play against you. And Yao, we shared an experience together that will always be with me, thank you. Sonny & Pam Vaccarro showed me how there is loyalty and genuine friendship in this business. Arn Tellem and Tim Hoy, 15 years and you are still my agents. Thank you for guiding me throughout my career. When all is said and done, there is so many that made an impact on my life. I am one blessed man to have the love and never ending support of my wife CleRenda and the best 4 kids a man can ask for. But most important, I give glory and thanks to God. It is thru Him that I have been so blessed and I am forever thankful.
As I enter this next chapter, I am excited to play for Qingdao Eagles in China. I have been to China several times in the last few years and I love the people and the country. It will be an honor to play for them. Thank you to every fan that has followed me and believed in me. Injuries and all, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I am proud of the mark I left on this game and am grateful to have been a part this league. It was a dream to play in front of all of you, each night, in every stadium. Thank you.
This was uploaded when YouTube only allowed 10 minute videos. Pt2 was taken down for copyright infringement.