Skip to main content

"My grandmother was a janitor, my mom was a housekeeper" - Tracy McGrady reveals the motivations that led him to the NBA

Tracy McGrady leaned on his family for inspiration.
Tracy McGrady reveals the moment he got the respect he deserved

Tracy McGrady

To this day, former NBA forward Tracy McGrady remains one of the greatest individual scorers the league has ever seen. Unfortunately for younger fans, they did not witness McGrady's greatness as he went toe-to-toe with the likes of all-timers LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in his prime. An important element of his ascension was McGrady's competitive spirit, which was developed in his early days.

McGrady's upbringing was difficult.

Most casual NBA fans fail to understand that behind all the points and game-winners, the level of dedication and personal sacrifice McGrady endured growing up was extraordinary.

Brought up in the inner suburbs of Bartow, Florida, McGrady made the NBA against all odds, persevering through an environment infested with drug and alcohol addiction.

Due to his surroundings, the 7-time All-Star was exposed to the need to change his fortunes daily. Recently, McGrady appeared on "The Pivot Podcast" to discuss his relentless motivation to make it to the NBA.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"My upbringing. I grew up in central Florida, where it is probably the worst drug infested neighbourhood you know, in that area. So grandmother was a janitor at my elementary school. Mom was a housekeeper at Disney. That was my motivation. My grandmother was waking up every morning five o'clock in the morning going to be a janitor. The sh*t that I saw everyday, my mom and my grandma grinding reprogrammed me to want to be better," McGrady said.

He made it out to the other side.

McGrady's commitment to creating a better future for himself and those he loves undoubtedly paid off, as the Toronto Raptors selected him with the 9th overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft. Luckily for them, it was immediately apparent that McGrady had the tools to grow into one of the best offensive weapons in the Association.

By 2001 McGrady was an All-Star, the next season, he received All-NBA honors, and in the two years that followed, he was the league's scoring champion averaging 28 and 32 points, respectively.

Standing at six-foot-eight, McGrady's size and strength overwhelmed opponents. A true three-level scorer with an advanced handle and uncanny shot-making ability, McGrady's skillset was unique for someone with his dimensions.

Hope for the next generation.

The now 43-year-old has stayed close to the NBA since retiring in 2013, being a constant presence on major TV outlets and providing insight into the league and its players.

It's safe to say McGrady did his family proud by reversing his situation and carving out a professional career in sports. Unfortunately, it can't be the same reality for many aspiring young ball players who wish to change their circumstances, but McGrady provides hope for those willing to chase that dream.

Amassing over 18,000 points in his career, McGrady should be proud of what he achieved in the game. We're sure his family is.

February 23, 2009; Golden State Warriors forward Stephen Jackson during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center

Stephen Jackson shares his two most memorable moments playing for the “We Believe” Warriors

The Warriors experienced some brief success in the 2000s, thanks partly to Jackson's strong play.

January 1, 2019; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid talks to Markelle Fultz on the bench before a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center

“I felt like we had given up on him too early” - Joel Embiid explains why he was disappointed when the 76ers traded Markelle Fultz

The Sixers had to do the trade to get rid of the drama surrounding the 2017 No. 1 pick and focus on a title run.

Boston Celtics guard Dennis Johnson in action at the Boston Garden

“His act of kindness enabled me to keep that job” - A motivational speaker shares a heartwarming Dennis Johnson story

After working odd jobs as a teenager, carrying two heavy jugs was probably no big deal for Johnson.

NFL legend Shannon Sharpe, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, former NBA player Stephen Jackson

“LeBron ain’t gonna run up and fight nobody for you. Keep that in mind” - Stephen Jackson warns Shannon Sharpe about his relationship with LeBron James

James said that he’s got Sharpe’s back just as much as the analyst has his but Jackson doesn't believe this is the case.


"Mess with Stockton and you mess with me" - Karl Malone on what John Stockton meant to him

The connection between Karl Malone and John Stockton goes beyond basketball


"Let's see what this guy did in his career" — Why Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn't initially impressed with Jason Kidd

The NBA was heading toward the positionless ball during Jason Kidd's time in Milwaukee. The point guard knew that Giannis Antetokounmpo was the ace up in his sleeves.

January 31, 2023; Jamal Murray interviewed by TNT broadcaster Chris Haynes after the Denver Nuggets beat the New Orleans Pelicans at Ball Arena

"Winning a championship!" - Jamal Murray talks about Denver Nuggets' ultimate goal while praising Nikola Jokic

Jamal Murray has had long process of recovery after his ACL injury, but he is back on track, and ready to help the team win a championship.

Detroit Pistons guard Joe Dumars (4)/Phoenix Suns forward Charles Barkley (34)

“Give me that sh*t, Joe!” - When Charles Barkley stopped Joe Dumars from dunking in traffic again

While hardly a defensive menace, Chuck did enough to dissuade Dumars from trying to posterize opponents again.