Oh, Tracy McGrady.
The same player that once befuddled us with his talent on a basketball court before refusing to retire in a timely manner is now remaining in professional sports after leaving the NBA.
Only this time, he's going to be toeing a rubber on the baseball diamond. Yes, McGrady was officially invited to spring training with the Sugar Land Skeeters, according to the Associated Press, via USA Today.
Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti spoke about the former NBA star and what he might bring to the independent league team, per the AP report:
"We're intrigued by the progress Tracy has made thus far," Gaetti said, "and really commend him for putting in the work."
McGrady also spoke about the opportunity to pitch for the Skeeters in a statement released by the team (via the Houston Chronicle):
I got called into the skipper’s office after practice and he let me know that I was going to be a part of the Skeeters’ Spring Training camp. This has been a goal of mine and it’s a great challenge. I’m looking forward to competing and I’m excited about this great opportunity.
As far as measurables are concerned, the 6'8" right-hander certainly looks the part on the mound. But the 34-year-old McGrady hasn't thrown in a competitive atmosphere since his senior year of high school—so it's been a while, to say the least.
But pitching in the independent league appears to be a perfect situation for McGrady. While referencing Gaetti's previous statement, Dayn Perry of CBS Sports gave his expert analysis of how "T-Mac" landed with the Skeeters:
Said intrigue is sufficient for the Skeeters to give the 6-foot-8 McGrady a chance to earn a roster spot. As always, the guiding principle of indy-league roster decisions contains not-insubstantial levels of "why the heck not?" So, really, why the heck not?
OK, so some aren't taking the opportunity seriously, but McGrady clearly does as he's attempting to fulfill his dream of pitching on a professional baseball team. And with the former Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic star already putting his NBA career behind him, he could have a few years left in him in the minor leagues.
While an actual career with the Houston Astros doesn't seem likely, ticket sales in Sugar Land could certainly see a huge rise if he breaks camp with the team.
The team is known for pulling publicity stunts. After Roger Clemens made his comeback with the team back in 2012, the park was packed to see the Rocket deliver.
Now with another former Rocket set to take the stage, Sugar Land could yet again be a popular team for those intrigued in witnessing a unique comeback.