You don’t usually see future NBA hall of famers (right?) start a new career in a whole new different sport once they retire, but Tracy McGrady has taken his love for baseball into the professional zone, being named to the roster of the Sugar Land Skeeters before they open the season, although many believe this to be a publicity stunt.
McGrady, who last played for the San Antonio Spurs as a fringe bench player during their NBA Finals run last season, played in the NBA from 1997, but spent the 2012-13 season in China before signing with the Spurs just for the playoffs. He is soon to turn 35 and only now has the time to pursue something of another dream for him, which happens to be playing baseball, something he did in high school.
Pitchers don’t often come in McGrady’s size (6’8) and he does look awkward delivering the ball. He started for the Skeeters in an exhibition game a week ago, playing for one inning, giving up three hits and one run with 15 pitches. One game isn’t an indication, but the poor (relatively) performance makes many assume that his stint with the club, located close to Houston where he spent five seasons, has nothing to do with baseball.
McGrady himself? In a statement released by the team, is simply happy to be part of a team. It’s not just about baseball for him, but about being with teammates. Or at least that’s what he says.
The team’s manager, Gary Gaetti, who played for the Minnesota Twins (1981–1990), California Angels (1991–1993), Kansas City Royals (1993–1995), St. Louis Cardinals (1996–1998), Chicago Cubs (1998–1999) and Boston Red Sox (2000) and has a World Series from 1987 and is also a two-time All-Star, didn’t say much but announce McGrady made the team, and that he waited as much as possible before announcing the decision.
McGrady played baseball all through his childhood up until his senior year in high school, when he transferred to a school without a baseball program. He went to the NBA without going to college, being the 9th overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft by the Toronto Raptors.