He came in as a skinny high school kid known more for being Vince Carter's cousin.
He left as one of the greatest scorers to ever play the game.
Think about that and how hard this is to believe. On Monday, his official "where did the time go" moment came to fruition when he announced his retirement after 16 seasons.
He took a different approach from the usual press conference and made it official on ESPN's First Take.
Thank all of you who have supported me over 16 NBA seasons, 7 All-Stars, and countless exciting moments. Retiring from NBA. Stay tuned. #mac— Tracy McGrady (@Real_T_Mac) August 26, 2013
Love and respect from his peers soon followed.
One can definitely see the impact T-Mac's game has had on Kevin Durant.
T-Mac the great!!! Thank you, just watching you as a kid helped me get to where I am today! Good luck in the future— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) August 26, 2013
Paul George showed some love as well.
Special Shoutout to one of the best to ever do it in my eyes! Gave alot of hope to that skinny kid out… http://t.co/76OlolsQL0— Paul George (@Paul_George24) August 26, 2013
The greatest point guard of all time also praised T-Mac.
Happy Retirement to one of the greatest scorers in NBA History, @Real_T_Mac!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) August 26, 2013
By no means am I intending to disrespect Magic, but when we think of T-Mac, the first thought that comes to mind is his prolific scoring ability, for sure.
However, we shouldn't be to hasty in terms of branding him under one singular label. Allow his numbers and accomplishments to speak for themselves.
T-Mac, LBJ & Larry Bird are the only players in history w/ 15,000 Pts, 4,500 Reb, 3,500 Ast & 500 3-pt FG in 1st 11 seasons @EliasSports— NBA History (@NBAHistory) August 26, 2013
Only two players have averaged 32 points, 6.5 boards, 5.5 assists in a full season: Tracy McGrady and Michael Jordan. http://t.co/IdcZqhVvfB— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) August 27, 2013
Now, let's reflect for a minute.
When I think of Tracy McGrady, I always think of him as a member of the Houston Rockets first.
Speaking of prolific scoring, it's nearly impossible not to think of his Dec. 9, 2004 outburst against the San Antonio Spurs right off the bat.
It's as unreal watching it now as it was when it happened nearly 10 years ago.
But then there's this.
It was storming in Dallas, but Shawn Bradley, also known as the Stormin' Mormon, was on the wrong end of the thunder.
Happy retirement and hats off to you, T-Mac. Your ultra laid-back on-court demeanor belied your competitive fire that burned deep within.
It will be very much missed.