During the 2002 NBA All-Star Game in Philadelphia Tracy McGrady known as “T-Mac” put on a show as he demonstrated something not seen often. He over-shined Kobe Bryant’s MVP-worthy performance (31 points, five assists, five rebounds) in front of a less-than-welcoming Philadelphia crowd with a self off-the-backboard alley-oop.
Now more than 16 years later, Tracy McGrady’s off-the-backboard alley-oop still resonates in the minds of many basketball fans. What makes Tracy McGrady’s alley-oop to himself off-the-backboard dunk so special is that it wasn’t done in front of a bunch of lesser-known NBA players. Instead, T-Mac made a fool of the Western Conference All-Stars with that slam.
Everyone, including the other nine players on the court, the commentators, the nearly 20,000 fans in attendance was caught completely off-guard when McGrady threw the lob off of the backboard, but all were impressed after the swingman finished off the move with a leaning, one-handed dunk.
“There was only one guy back there, I think it was Dirk, and he bit on the lob,” explained McGrady when breaking down the play later. “I guess he thought I was throwing it to one of my teammates, and I just threw it down.”
One of the most spectacular plays I’ve ever seen,” said Dallas Mavericks’ power forward Dirk Nowitzki when asked about the move after the game.
“It takes a lot of creativity to do something like that,” said then-Dallas Mavericks’ point guard Steve Nash about McGrady’s 2002 slam. “I think he knew he could do it, and he just saw the opening.”
That said, McGrady’s flush from 2002 redefined the limits of what players could do on the basketball court, given a little ingenuity. Not only had he done it a few times before in high school, but he actually pulled it off vs. the Boston Celtics in a preseason game before the 2000-01 campaign. McGrady would go on to do the self alley-oop a few more times in his career, most notably at the 2004 NBA All-Star Game.