It is the end of an era. After 15 seasons, Tracy McGrady is ready to move on from the NBA and take his talents overseas. McGrady has agreed to a one-year deal to play in China with the Qingdao Eagles.
McGrady will surely have a few fans over there already because of his superstar status for years in America and the fact that he played on the same team as Yao Ming will not hurt either.
After averaging just more than 16 minutes and 5.3 points a game last year with the Atlanta Hawks, McGrady must have felt his time in the NBA was up. It is clear he still loves the game of basketball though, not wanting to hang up the shoes just yet.
McGrady announced his intentions to play in China with a very heartfelt message to his fans.
“There are times in life that a new road presents itself and it appears this time has come for me now,” McGrady posted on his Facebook page. “I am so proud of what I have accomplished these past 15 years playing in the NBA. It was a dream entering the league as I just turned 18 years old. I worked hard and poured my heart and soul into this game. I consider myself a student of the game as I have watched, studied and played with and against the best players in the world. The NBA was my University and I learned so much. The gratitude I feel is really immeasurable. I have experienced the best moments a player can experience and have had some dark ones too. Both equally important in helping shape me into the man I am today.”
McGrady went on to thank several people including former coaches, teammates, opponents and others for all the inspiration they have given him over the years.
He seems genuinely excited to play in China this year. It could be a real chance to reinvent himself as a player. McGrady had an amazing career, but it was not without a few bumps in the road including a lot of injury issues and some conflicts with teammates. Playing in China, he will have a chance to end his career on a positive note.
Of course, since the Chinese basketball season ends in March, there is always the chance we could see McGrady back in an NBA uniform for the postseason, but I’m not counting on it.