Former NBA player and one of the best pure scorers in recent NBA history, Tracy McGrady made a guest appearance on All The Smoke podcast. McGrady talked about several interesting things from his illustrious NBA career and touched upon his rookie season, and the first time he met and played against Michael Jordan. Coming to the NBA straight from high-school, McGrady remembers the excitement for having the opportunity to go up against his idol and the fear factor that came with playing against Jordan and the Bulls.
I was shaking in my boots, shaking when I first had to guard him.Tracy McGrady, via All The Smoke
Before making his NBA debut, McGrady remembered his senior year in high school when he had the opportunity to go to a Bulls game, which was the first time he met Jordan. At that time, Jordan was one of the most popular people on this planet, famously known as ‘Black Jesus’, and people worshiped him as he was a God or at least some kind of royalty. That is how McGrady felt when he first saw Jordan coming out of the locker room.
I’m standing there, and Pip comes out, all these players start coming out. Mike comes around that corner, and I ain’t going to lie to you, the man had a glow. That s**t is real.Tracy McGrady, via All The Smoke
McGrady also talked about his matchups against Jordan in his rookie season when the Bulls were going for their second three-peat. It was a game in which 18-year-old McGrady had a great performance, almost getting a triple-double, but Jordan stole the show, scoring over 30 points while schooling McGrady on both ends of the floor.
I’m on the court with him my rookie year, and it took me about a quarter to get over the fact that this is Mike. That mystique wears off if you are around someone for a longer time. I had my best game as a rookie playing against him, almost had a triple-double. In front of 30 thousand, we played at the SkyDome. Mike had about 35, and he probably had 12 on me easy. I had to get his ass back when he was with the Wizards, though. Your ass is 38 years old, and you put 50 and still have game, but you have to get this work.Tracy McGrady, via All The Smoke
McGrady also had an opportunity to play with his childhood idol because the Bulls wanted to trade Scottie Pippen for the young forward at the time. None other than Jordan personally requested the Bulls front office to keep Pippen, and he even threatened to leave if his team didn’t meet his demands. After getting traded from the Raptors to the Orlando Magic, McGrady made a name for himself, becoming one of the best players in the NBA at one point. Unfortunately, he never had significant success in the playoffs, and multiple injuries cut his career short.