Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady’s friendship stems back to their childhood days. Before both Hall-of-Famers entered and competed in the NBA, they already shared a mutual bond and love for the game.
Bryant, who grew up in Europe, would invite T-Mac to his vacations with his family. That’s why whenever McGrady is asked about what his favorite moment is with legend, he doesn’t talk about those times they shared on the court but rather those days they spent vacationing together as teenagers.
Vacationing in Paris
In his recent appearance on The Alex Kennedy show, T-Mac mentioned that all Bryant did on vacation (yes, while they were teenagers) was watch karate and Michael Jordan films. This was when the seven-time All-Star realized that Bryant’s dedication to basketball and killer instinct was apparent from the very beginning.
“I think being in Paris with him, seeing his work ethic, and getting a good feel for who Kobe. He was a guy that always tried to be 1-of-1 against anybody that he was in competition with. I found that he was very intelligent. Just really had things figured out at an early age. [He had] such an incredible way of seeing life and saw things, just to sit down and have those conversations with him man, I stayed with him and his parents back when I was 18 years old, all he did was watch these tapes, whether it’s karate flicks, Michael Jordan, home and grown movies like ‘Come Play With Me’ ‘Come Fly With Me’ ‘Playground’. He loved Karate flicks. Just to be around that and go through his career and what he became, just an icon and such an inspiration to a generation of people,” McGrady recently shared.
Childhood friends turned nemesis on the court.
McGrady is one of the few guards that went toe-to-toe with Bryant during their NBA careers. His career might not have been as successful as Bryant’s, but McGrady proved at times that he was just as good as Kobe was.
During their matchups together in the regular season, T-Mac averaged 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game compared to Bryant’s 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.
However, unlike Bryant, McGrady didn’t stay with one organization as he spent most of his career with the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, and Houston Rockets. Their career trajectory was distinct from each other, but they did give each other a run for their money when they battled.
McGrady didn’t disclose whether or not he watched karate and Michael Jordan films with the Mamba in Paris, but he was one of the first to witness Bryant’s obsession for the game before the world did.