In an interview with Fox 26 Sports in Chicago last summer, Tracy Mcgrady was a bit boastful even by his standards. The 30 year-old from Bartow, Florida explained that his body felt better during his summer workouts then it had all last season.
"If I go out right now, I could give somebody thirty."
People in the sports world are familiar with the phrase Manny being Manny, but have yet to come to appreciate Tracy being Tracy.
I’ve coined the phrase Mcgradyisms, when referring to an athlete speaking before actually accomplishing anything. And that’s precisely why the city that never sleeps will watch him closely.
Point blank as Mcgrady has said in the past, the rebirth of a storied franchise IS ON HIM.
Let me not mislead anyone, Donnie Walsh traded for the 23 million dollar expiring contract of the superstar and not necessarily the player himself. But there had to be a bit of intrigue. Although much of the media has been hard on Mcgrady throughout his career, there is no doubt that he's always made the game look easy. So while Walsh didn't trade for the star that could get you thirteen points in 35 seconds, was it too much to hope for that he would score twenty points and play thirty five minutes.
The logical answer… Yes! Actually it's absolutely! After a year of no basketball and after the dreaded microfracture surgery it would be foolish to expect Mcgrady to dominate. The basketball world is too bright, are memories are too vivid to place too high of expectations on someone who has struggled with leg injuries for the past two seasons.
But then Tracy Mcgrady started talking.
Before stepping on the court he said he was ready to help rebuild the franchise, and willing to resign for less money to help this team win in 2010. He said he couldn’t wait to play the Rockets. He said he was not completely 100 percent, but is hungry and ready to contribute. Yet he’s also sat out second halves and fourth quarters.
The most memorable quote came after solid 128-104 victory against the Pistons, a game in which Mcgrady had 21 points and seven rebounds and eight assist. With recorders in his face, with a sly smile Mcgrady claimed as the knicks best player he lead his team by example. Let me not get my bleacherreport journalism license revoked, he did not say it verbatim he was the Knicks best player, and it wasn’t as bold as Marbury’s best point guard in the league proclamation, but his wording “as the team’s best player” was well, a prim example of a Mcgradyism.
This is a player who in fourteen games with the Knicks is averaging just over 11 points, while shooting just over 41 percent from the field.
And it's this type of talk that has burdened Mcgrady throughout his career. The type of talk that has overshadowed his mercurial talents in the ladder half of his career. The type of talk that has most people struck by his inability to make it past the first round, rather than by his point forward skills.
So as most who battle microfracture surgery battle self doubt as to whether they’ll regain their form. The last twelve games of the Knicks season, Mcgrady will undertake another battle. A battle amidst all the speculation that he will never be back to being T-Mac, and won’t even be worth signing in the off season, he must finally battle his urge to speak out.
Quite frankly,it is his mouth that won't allow him to be a role player and ease back into basketball. It may also be his mouth that makes Walsh think twice about resigning in NY next season.