Tracy McGrady to be inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame

Feb 12, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Canada player Tracy McGrady (1) brings the ball up court during the All-Star celebrity basketball game at Ricoh Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 12, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Canada player Tracy McGrady (1) brings the ball up court during the All-Star celebrity basketball game at Ricoh Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports /

Tracy McGrady got the call he was waiting for. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will induct Tracy McGrady into its hallowed halls.

When Tracy McGrady signed with the Orlando Magic in the summer of 2000, he was all potential. He had largely come off the bench for the Toronto Raptors after entering the league out of high school from Mount Zion Christian Academy, by way of nearby Auburndale, Fla.

As he held up the now-iconic No. 1 jersey flanked by Grant Hill, no one knew what to expect of him. He was full of promise. Not even he could have expected to carry the burden he would have to carry in the ensuing four years in a Magic jersey.

Then again, no one probably knew McGrady could carry that burden so masterfully. He put an assault on scoring records and defenses in a Magic uniform.

From those humble beginnings, McGrady announced himself as one of the top players in the league with every silky smooth jumper, rim-rattling dunk or toss off the backboard. McGrady established his career in Orlando, earning four of his seven All-Star appearances in Magic blue.

And for that, along with his continued success in Houston after he left Orlando, McGrady is a Basketball Hall of Famer.

The Basketball Hall of Fame announced Saturday that McGrady would headline its 2017 class alongside WNBA pioneer Rebecca Lobo, Kansas Jayhawks coach Bill Self, Chicago Bulls executive Jerry Krause and ABA star George McGinnis.

"“On behalf of the DeVos Family and the entire Orlando Magic organization, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Tracy McGrady on his well-deserved election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said through a team spokesman. “Tracy electrified Magic fans on a nightly basis during his four years in Orlando, while also impacting our community off the court through his numerous charitable endeavors. This honor is the perfect way to punctuate his illustrious basketball career.”"

In four seasons with the Magic, McGrady averaged 28.1 points per game, led the league in scoring twice and posted a 48.4 percent effective field goal percentage. He was a scoring machine, able to score in multiple ways and simply carrying the team at times.

McGrady holds the Orlando Magic’s scoring record, dropping 62 points in a 2004 game against the Washington Wizards. And he had plenty more of that too. He one time scored 52 points in three quarters in a blowout win over the Bulls.

And he always stepped his game up in the Playoffs. In three playoff series with the Magic, McGrady averaged 32.0 points per game with a 47.1 percent effective field goal percentage. He single handedly, it seemed, helped the Magic to stay in series with the second-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in 2001 and top-seeded Detroit Pistons in 2003.

It is impossible to talk about McGrady’s Magic legacy without the lost potential of the team he played on. McGrady met his potential from those early days after he signed with Orlando but the promise of that team never came to be.

Grant Hill struggled with injuries. And he never created the tandem with McGrady that John Gabriel initially envisioned that would dominate the Eastern Conference and the NBA. McGrady had to carry the team on his own, which unleashed his scoring ability on the league. But that absence hurt the team in the long run.

McGrady never advanced out of the first round in three Playoff series with the Magic. The team had a 3-1 lead over the top-seeded Pistons in 2003. But they lost the final three games as McGrady could no longer carry the team past the finish line.

The 2004 team was unable to keep the momentum going and bottomed out at 21-61. McGrady requested a trade and his tenure with Orlando ended.

There were still so many good memories that surpass that ugly season. McGrady was an absolute treat to watch. His scoring put him among the very best in the NBA.

There were legitimate debates on who was better between McGrady and Kobe Bryant. Bryant once said McGrady was his most difficult cover.

The league had no answer for him for his four years in Orlando. The only piece of his Hall of Fame resume that is missing is playoff victories. That no longer matters.

Next: Orlando Magic induct Jimmy Hewitt into Orlando Magic Hall of Fame

McGrady got his reward for an outstanding career. And he is now the Magic’s second true Hall of Famer.