The Media Loves Dead Pop Stars, Dead Pitchmen, and Tracy McGrady

Patrick MauroAnalyst IJuly 15, 2009

NEW YORK - JANUARY 26:  Tracy McGrady #1 of the Houston Rockets smiles against the New York Knicks on January 26, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Tracy McGrady. The guy known for playoff futility, the inability to stay healthy, and for a tremendous aversion to playing defense is in the news for, of all things, changing uniform numbers.

Obviously this is a slow news week. No dead pitchmen or pop stars, yet.

So the story goes that T-Mac, of the Houston Rockets (for the moment), is changing uniform numbers from "1" to "3" for the purpose of promoting his movie “3 Points Darfur,” which chronicles his trip to the Sudan in 2007.

T-Mac is also donating 75 grand, which will hopefully help a few people out. Sounds magnanimous, but this is equal to a guy who makes 20 grand giving 75 bucks. Hardly worth being endorsed as a great humanitarian in a news story.

Is this really a selfless gesture? Is it worthy of a news story? Or is T-Mac’s PR agency just making sure we all know he’s willing to put out what is not, when mathematically calculated, enough to merit comparison to even half of what Brangelina manages to burp up in one evening for orphans from more stable countries.

It’s one thing to use one’s celebrity to promote a cause, quite another to actually put your own money where your mouth is.

T-Mac made $20.37 million last year, averaging 15.6 points in over 35 games—that’s $582,000 per game, almost Bernie Madoff type of scratch. I bet Madoff would have squeezed more than 75 grand out of him.

In total, T-Mac has pulled down $137 million during his career, but still has never been on the active roster of a team that’s won a playoff series. In fact, his Rockets the last two seasons seemed to play better once his annual injury shut him down for the year.

So what does our idiotic mainstream media do? They praise a guy for changing uniform numbers not for a nice car, or diamond encrusted watch, or a fat wad of cash, but to promote a movie.

And swapping numbers? It’s not like he just gave away his first born. In fact, his new jersey will now sell better than it did, which wasn’t so hot as of late. Who wants a T-Mac jersey who doesn’t already have one? Now those people will need the T-Mac jersey with a "3" on it.

I’m sure the team is more interested in making newly signed Trevor Ariza (who will receive McGrady’s "1") happy versus catering to the underachieving T-Mac, who might not even be in Houston that much longer.

This isn’t about bashing McGrady, though if someone wanted to take him to task for not meeting the definitional criteria of “giver” as well as he could, proportionate to what he makes, I wouldn’t object.

The bigger point is pointing out our mainstream media and their idiotic obsession with celebrity. Then again, the media is simply giving the people what they want, so maybe this is more of a critique on what the American public finds important, like dead pitchmen and pop stars.

Do you get teary-eyed when you hear the now dead Billy Mays yelling at you in a commercial?

McGrady is a decent human for making any effort to shine light on the atrocious situation in Darfur, but it just seems that if changing uniform numbers to promote your own movie is lauded as so humane and wonderful, the ceiling is awfully low, and dropping, when it comes to good deeds performed by NBA stars.

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