T-Mac just bounced his Hall Of Fame ballot off the backboard and dunked his Naismith induction home.
The seven time NBA All-Star who performed that off the glass shattering jam pass to himself twice at A.S.G. (and once in the damn regular season), highlights the class of 2017 with Indiana Pacers great George McGinnis, Kansas’ legacy making coach Bill Self, UCONN legend Rebecca Lobo and the recently dearly departed Chicago Bulls executive and six rings court conductor Jerry Krause.
Kobe Bryant whose place in the Hall is certified called Tracy McGrady the “toughest” player he’s gone up against. Basketball bible SLAM magazine named him one of their top 75 players of all-time. Sure this All-Star never became a champion. Or the official NBA Top 50, Jordan chasing ranks he was predicted to be like a projecting LeBron. But his induction to the corridors of court fame confirms him as one thing.
Tracing Tracy’s career takes you to all sorts of places. Like here in Canada where McGrady began his career alongside his cousin Vince Carter for our Toronto Raptors. The family ties made for quite a partnership. From Air Canada’s legendary Slam Dunk Contest to the ones in-game (Vince Carter may have jumped right over a 7 footer in the Olympics, but did you remember when McGrady soared over 7 foot 6 inch Shawn Bradley as a Rocket?) that proved the T-Dot had more than just Pearson, or one person when it came to runways downtown. It was all 10’s in the 6 but somehow these rim-kissing cousins couldn’t relate and what could have been a dynamite duo of dynamics to rival the new milleniuum Lakers in the Shaq and Kobe era of feuds became a one man show. But still to this day, Vince Carter’s purple dino throwback isn’t the only one still selling up north. “We” a team.
Tracy’s spell in Orlando looked to make him the Magic man in his home state of Florida. But it was meant to be a sidekick affair from the get go. Paired with former Detroit Piston legend Grant Hill whose career beginnings came with their own Jordan-heir thrine stakes when the greatest was still playing. But Hill took another tumble over injury time and McGrady was left to do it all. Like his signature assist and dunk mid-February classic which made the souring Slam-Dunk Contest a lay-up line in comparison. Much like Orlando’s oppositions paint that kept this shoulder burdened Magic team out the playoff picture. Tracy needed more tricks.
In Houston came more problems despite McGrady alinging with Chinese sensation Yao Ming and even towering the 7 foot 6 centre in jersey sales in the dynasty makers Asian continent for a time. Replacing Steve Francis, Tracy looked like the perfect tipping point for a pick and roll with Yao, but critical injuries would keep these two apart like long distance realtionships or Hill’s and Carter’s. And when it came to the postseason it was always a first round knockout…remember those postgame speechless tears? Don’t forget the heart. Even if when it came to court coupling it just looked like it wasn’t meant to be for number one. But still the star shined. Scoring a legendary record 13 points in 35 seconds (including four consecutive threes) like Larry Johnson with two strong arms against a San Antonio Spurs he’d later finish his career with on quite a rejuvanation.
The George Gervin like player spent more time on ice, but between sick notes this man also made time for the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles of the Chinese Basketball Association (thanks Yao). Many thought the two-time scoring champion swingman would continue his career, some thinking Mac would be back with the Lakers (don’t be fooled those phototshops aren’t real), but T-Mac called it a day (dedicating his humanitarian work to places like Darfur for his documentary ‘3 Points’) and quite a career that see’s him as a Raptor, Magic and Rocket legend.
But before multiple ones are raised to the rafters the hall calls for Tracy McGrady. So don’t doze on the oft-rested great as Nasmith and Basketball infamy wakes up the Big Sleep this fall.
The Warriors Came Out To Play This Series
Even without the fantasy Basketball of Kevin Durant in this series, the Golden State Warriors still brought out the brooms like ‘Fantasia’.
And swept out of Game 4 like Thanos click finger dust, the Portland Trailblazers may have only lost by a bucket (119-117)…and in overtime at that. But with all the Splash they had to contend with this series from brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they were left dealing with more leaks and holes in all of their own ones like Mickey Mouse in said Disney epic.
This was meant to be the showdown between Dell Curry’s boys Steph and Seth which divided a household. And although the youngest gun stepped up to the plate, swung big in this carnival and knocked them down, big brother was always watching.
Steph Curry averaged over 36 points a game this series. Just read that again. 36 points. Right now we don’t need to talk about Kevin.
The Warriors are a dynasty for the ages even without their best player (although this writer thinks he wasn’t missing this entire series). The first team to make it to five straight finals since the Boston Celtics. The 1960’s Bill Russell Celtics. That’s King James crowning legendary. And Steph Curry with the shot and that facet of the game is just as iconic and dominant as a Bill block.
Give some credit to a blazing Portland side who never gave up despite the box score. They can hold their heads in the PDX. Even in their Moda Center home-stand City Of Roses end in RIP City. Their season eulogy should read as a celebration and commiseration, not a trolling condescension from critically entitled fans who have done nothing to determine the outcome of these games and could never make it this far in their wildest memes. They call themselves “influencers”? Well no one’s going to remember them in 50 years.
The NBA will remember one of their Top 100 greatest of all-time in a half century though. As after hitting the biggest buzzer beater in playoff history against Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, Damian Lillard played through the pain of separated ribs this series and still made the Basketball God’s look down from the hoop heavens with praise. Like New York singer St. Vincent tweeted, “Damian Lillard is my hero”. Even his backcourt brother of splash CJ McCollum in the only small man set up to rival Curry and Klay came out to play against the Warriors after midrange mining the Nuggets into submission in Denver just over a week ago.
But Curry’s red hot triple double, starter, mains and dessert dish of 37, 13 and 11, to go along with a playing not crying, Draymond Green’s day of 18, 14 and 11 assists also was just too much in the clutch. As Stephen and Dray became the first teammates in NBA history to have a triple double in the same playoff game. Forget how much this team can unbelievably keep winning, how does this ball manage to get shared this much?
Well that just may be the secret of success?
The real test is dubbed next however in the Warriors last season in Golden State before they move across that Golden bridge to the Silicon Valley of a digital age in San Francisco. They will play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks (probably…Giannis…MVP. Sorry Toronto but come on!) and Raptors series. But by then they should have some guy called Kevin back.
I mean come on. This has been getting crazy. This is just out of hand like said ball in Splash City.
Now Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics’ record of eight straight finals and wins doesn’t look far out of reach for Steph Curry and the player and team with the biggest range in the association over the gate of the Pacific.
Welcome to the Toronto Raptors’ Jurassic Park
“In Jurassic Park, Raptor fans wait until after dark. Even if the cold might eat them!”
Fans find a way.
An ace serve or two away from being as legendary as Wimbledon’s ‘Murray Mound’ or ‘Henman Hill’ outside the Scotiabank Arena, the Toronto Raptors Maple Leaf Square’s “Jurassic Park” may just be the ticket for this sold out crowd.
Raptor Klaw, Kawhi Leonard ruled the earth last night. He and the T-Dot at the final tick beat the Sixers in The Six, as his shot bobbled like a beach ball on the surface of a swimming pool before making the biggest splash of these postseason playoffs. Taking longer to fall than Leonardo DiCaprio’s spinning top in ‘Inception’. But this was no dream.
And if you thought the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto erupted last night, then outside in Maple Leaf Square it was like the volcanoes that killed the dinosaurs after that big ball dropped. An Armageddon even Bruce Willis couldn’t save like he wish he could his career.
Welcome to Jurassic World.
With all due respect to the Linsanity of Jeremy Lin, or pick your poison whoever is your flash card pick of the bench mob pack, but the Jurassic Park crowd fenced in outside of Scotia is the teams spiritual sixth man, spark plug. As electric as the paddock like perimeter fence surrounding them feels with this buzz over basketball (and national sport hockey come Leaf picking season), this crowd can’t be contained.
Forget rain or shine. You see the slickers. These faithful fans will pitch a spot waiting for game time like the ball to drop in Times Square for New Year in New York, sleeping bag lining up all day in their hordes huddled for warmth. These beautiful fans will brave the harshest, most frigid temperatures to be the coldest fans in the game in more ways than one. Part of the ‘We The North’ community in the 6 that the Basketball God’s look down on with pride, whilst other armchair fans watch this game for the throne from home. Or leave early like those suit and tie corporate seats trying to catch that last red eye Matt Bonner home.
Can you imagine of they called game early before Kawhi last night?
I could imagine Drake taking in the CN Tower looking up views of the Jurassic though, like it was all the basketball God’s plan.
Well those in the park for recreation stayed until the beautiful end to a game Butler almost delivered bitter. And you could could phantom cam see every emotion in slow motion last night as Leonard’s buzzer beating ball toyed with the rim like three dots on messenger, or Damien Lillard even further downtown in Oklahoma City.
This is the spirit of the stadium and the soul of the squad, expanding the capacity arena and the Canadian ballclubs worldwide fanbase watching on their own Jumbotrons.
And the Toronto Raptors are going to need all the north they can get if they’re going to stop the Bucks in Milwaukee.
But this club has the claws to do it. And if you don’t think they can win in Wisconsin on their own road to being the first franchise outside of the United States to be NBA finalists and who knows what next against the Warriors(?), then just watch this Canadian cornerstone from the Jurassic era.
Extinct in six? Nah! Get ready to hear the North roar.