THOSE sleepy eyes always betrayed Tracy McGrady.
Whether he was pouring in 13 points in 35 seconds for Houston in 2004 or sitting on the bench and watching the San Antonio Spurs win another playoff game in June without needing him, that cool expression rarely changed. It all looked almost too easy for McGrady, even if it rarely was.
McGrady announced his retirement from the NBA on Monday, ending a 16-year career that included two scoring titles, seven all-star appearances, injuries to his knee and back and zero playoff series wins while he was leading the way. The straight-from-high school project who blossomed into a dominant, two-way superstar will always be remembered, too, as a player who struggled with injuries.
"Thank all of you who have supported me over 16 NBA seasons, 7 all-stars, and countless exciting moments," McGrady tweeted on Monday morning. "Retiring from NBA. Stay tuned."
McGrady didn't rule out continuing his career overseas, perhaps in China where he played last season.
McGrady was drafted by Toronto out of high school in 1997 and was outshined early in his career by Raptors star Vince Carter, McGrady's distant cousin. He became a star in Orlando, was traded to Houston in 2004 and also played for the Knicks, Pistons and Hawks before finishing up his career with the Spurs last season. He averaged 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in his career and at one point was considered one of the best perimeter players of his generation.
"Congrats to Tracy McGrady on an awesome career," LeBron James tweeted. "7-time All-NBA (2 1st Team), 2-time scoring champ, and just an all-around dazzling talent."
"There are a lot of things that go into winning in the NBA," former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said in a phone interview. "And until McGrady's body betrayed him, he was a dominant player."
-- The Associated Press