Monday , Jan , 05 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Goat or hero? What is Houston’s Tracy McGrady?

The supporters mention T-Mac’s individual accolades, freakish athleticism, the good times in Toronto and Orlando, and last year’s improbable winning streak. While the detractors counter with T-Mac’s injury woes, record of apathetic play, the sour endings in Toronto and Orlando, and, of course, the first round playoff losses …

Goat or hero? What is Houston's Tracy McGrady?Nobody polarizes like Tracy McGrady.

Since turning pro, he has always had his supporters and detractors. No middle ground. No in-between. And both sides have ample evidence to bolster their position.

The supporters mention T-Mac’s individual accolades, freakish athleticism, the good times in Toronto and Orlando, and last year’s improbable winning streak. While the detractors counter with T-Mac’s injury woes, record of apathetic play, the sour endings in Toronto and Orlando, and, of course, the first round playoff losses.

Intentional or not, the man divides.

Recent reports McGrady quit on Houston are surprising –even for a player who has always been controversial.

"Mark it down. It was Jan. 2, 2009, 1:16 left in the third quarter, when there was a seismic shift in the Rockets‘ world, when the tectonic plates opened up and swallowed an era. The official play-by-play sheet simply says: Jamario Moon slam dunk. Anybody who was watching at the Air Canada Centre or on TV knows it was the precise moment that Tracy McGrady quit on the Rockets." (Houston Chronicle)

Some thoughts on McGrady and this situation:

McGrady isn’t a goat or hero. He is blessed with natural talent, but cursed with a brittle body. Health permitting, the lanky swing is a very good, and occasionally great, player.

His formative years were with two dysfunctional organizations. The Raptors’ early days weren’t pretty, while Orlando, before Otis Smith became GM, should have been in Disney World, not the NBA. If either situation provided stability, a mentor, or modelled professionalism, McGrady’s career might be different.

Right now, the Rockets must stick by their player. He is hurt. And their is no other option. Injuries have killed McGrady’s market value, so a trade won’t happen. The Rockets best bet is to reduce the former All-Star’s minutes and, when he’s healthy and performing well, they can re-examine their options.

McGrady is at a crossroad. Things improve or changes are coming to Houston. His supporters and detractors might even agree on that.

Goat or hero? What do you think of McGrady? Get at us with thoughts and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of Chris Leon.