Orlando Magic fans will get what they want: Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady is next up on Orlando Magic Classics on FOX Sports Florida. (Photo by TONY RANZE/AFP via Getty Images)
Tracy McGrady is next up on Orlando Magic Classics on FOX Sports Florida. (Photo by TONY RANZE/AFP via Getty Images) /

FOX Sports Florida is taking a break Tuesday from airing classic Orlando Magic games. But they return Thursday with some of the best of Tracy McGrady.

Saturday night, FOX Sports Florida completed its run of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals airing Game 6 of the series as the end of a marathon of the Orlando Magic’s wins in the series.

The moment was as good and beautiful as it was live. Dwight Howard dominated the entire game with perhaps his best game of his career — 40 points and 14 rebounds — dominating the inside and leading the Magic to the NBA Finals for the second time in franchise history. LeBron James ended an incredible series sulking off the court, famously not shaking Magic players’ hands.

The whole experience of re-watching the 2009 playoff run was heartwarming. It was the Magic at their best — surprising the league and playing without anything to lose. There may not be another team in Magic history like the 2009 team.

That run is over though. The Magic have reached the Finals and FOX Sports Florida is not about to show the Magic losing. These classic games are supposed to make us feel good.

For the last two months, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays have allowed us to revisit some favorite teams and re-watch games that we might have forgotten. It has been fun to see Shaquille O’Neal dominating the paint and the expansion team’s greatest hits.

The league is still nearly two months away from returning. The NBA is targeting a July 31 return at the Wide World of Sports. That is still a fair amount of time to kill.

Tuesday’s usual spot for Magic games is filled on the schedule with the 2017 MLB All-Star Game from Marlins Stadium.

When it comes to what games fans want to see next, the choice is clear.

Thursday after FOX Sports Florida aired Game 4 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals, I asked my followers on Twitter which games they would like to see FOX Sports Florida air next — since we had seemingly exhausted the best playoff games in Magic history.

The answers were pretty clear. The people want Tracy McGrady:

After skipping Tuesday’s air dates, FOX Sports Florida is ready to deliver.

According to Spectrum’s TV guide, FOX Sports Florida will air the March 28, 2001 battle between Tracy McGrady’s Orlando Magic and Allen Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m., starting a string of classic Tracy McGrady performances.

Saturday at 4:30 p.m., the network will air Tracy McGrady’s 50-point performance against the Washington Wizards from March 8, 2002, followed by his Christmas Day duel with rookie LeBron James from 2003.

These are certainly among the most classic and representative of McGrady’s performances. And hopefully just the start of re-airing some of McGrady’s best performances from his four-year tenure with the Magic.

McGrady remains one of the most popular and fun players in Magic history. And it is very easy to skip over his time with the Magic because of the lack of playoff success the team had with him as the star.

McGrady is clearly on the Mt. Rushmore of Magic history and is undoubtedly the team’s best scorer.

In four seasons with the Magic, he averaged 28.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. Because he had to dominate so much with his scoring, it is easy for fans to forget what a gifted all-around player he was. There is a reason Kobe Bryant called Tracy McGrady the toughest players he had to cover in his era.

But everyone remembers McGrady for his scoring. He had some incredible scoring performances.

He scored 52 points in three quarters against the Chicago Bulls in 2003. He had a franchise-record 62 points in a game against the Washington Wizards in 2004. He had a scoring tour de force in Game 1 of the 2003 Playoffs. He scored 42 points, dished out 10 assists and grabbed eight rebounds in a stunning Game 3 overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2001 Playoffs. Or his 46-point triple-double in a duel with Jason Kidd in 2003.

This is just a sampling of McGrady’s best games in a Magic uniform. And with the time slots FOX Sports Florida gave to airing classic Magic games, these are the games we should be watching this week — and probably next week too while we are here. These are the games we want to see.

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  • McGrady was a unique scoring force.

    He was graceful, able to hang in the air and finish around the basket. He was brutal, able to overpower smaller players to get to the basket. And he was a killer. When he had that glint in his eye and you could see the anger rising in him, he could put on a barrage of points that were simply indefensible.

    McGrady would often bring the ball up, seemingly high-stepping his way down the court, and then suddenly pull up for three at the top of the key before the defense could ever react.

    This is the player I became basketball conscious watching. And, personally, I am really excited to watch these games again. Like many fans, I am looking forward to seeing McGrady back in a Magic uniform again.

    Just like Shaquille O’Neal was a unique force in Magic history, Tracy McGrady was also a unique force. Something that legend has both pumped up as greater than he was and also forgotten how brilliant he was.

    Stories can overcome reality. And so, for me personally, rewatching these classic games has been an enjoyable experience, helping reframe and discuss these teams anew.

    It is going to be great to see McGrady in his full glory again.

    We have several of Tracy McGrady’s games available to view in the OMD Video Vault. McGrady, like the 1995 Magic, is a YouTube darling and plenty of people have uploaded full games of his. There is the ability to access McGrady’s games.

    But as much as a resource as I would like the Video Vault to be, nothing compares to watching his games in full, direct from a television feed on your big screen.

    Next. Rashard Lewis was the glue holding 2009 Magic together. dark

    And starting Thursday, the people will get what they want. They will get to see McGrady again.