"I have been working hard all summer to get ready for the upcoming season an am thankful that I landed in Detroit. I'm doing my workouts with my trainer Ben, and I am now able to finish full workouts that I wasn't able to do for the past two years. I do feel tremendously healthy, prepared, and ready for the season." -- Tracy McGrady, excerpt from his blog, dated 9/14/10
"McGrady (tired legs) will not play Wednesday against Dallas, MLive.com's Chris Iott reports." -- from McGrady's player profile on ESPN.com, dated 10/12/10
Tired legs. Well, that's a new one. Even for Tracy McGrady.
I've mentioned before that I used to be in sales. I used to not only manage salespeople, but I was one myself for many years. Forecasting how you're going to finish a month, a quarter, a year, is one of the most important skills for a good salesperson. (Stay with me on this. It's going somewhere, I promise.)
A razor-sharp forecaster is invaluable to an organization; conversely, the salesperson who tells you over and over again that they will hit their numbers each month, only to throw a 24-percent-of-quota at the board (again)...well, eventually, you tune those people out, and ultimately, you lose any use for them at all.
In some sense, we're all salespeople, aren't we? We're constantly trying to convince our employer, our spouse, our friends that we're worthy of their trust/admiration/love.
Tracy McGrady is a sales guy. For years, he's been trying to convince us that he's all about winning, that he's a warrior who absorbs pain for breakfast and spits it back out before his three-hour workout sessions.
This worked fine when Tracy was winning scoring titles, when he could still explode to the hoop. Even as his playoff failures continued to mount May after early May, we would still buy in, although each year more hesitantly so than the next.
The 22-game winning streak in 2008 was his last big deal. Soon Tracy's knees would stop cooperating, and then came the fables from rehab. Tracy's self-assessments of his physical conditioning were either a complete misfire or total fabrication (probably some of both, to be honest).
The Rockets played Tracy for a total of about 18 seconds of "shell of his former self" time last season before shutting him down completely. The tuning out of Tracy's verbal chest thumping began.
He was traded to the Knicks and, after a solid debut (26 points against Oklahoma City), went on to average around eight points a game in a stint marked by more knee issues and the New York fans setting a new record for "fastest heel-turn on a new athlete in New York" (Two days, shattering the record set by Neil O'Donnell in 1996).
The tuning out had spread to the Northeast.
After an offseason where Tracy
plodded around the country like he had two club feet traveled around the country for several workouts (including one in Chicago where he immediately started referring to the Bulls in the first person as if he they had signed him already), the Pistons decided to sign him to a veteran's minimum deal. The ultimate throwaway, "if it doesn't work, who gives a shit" deal.
Tracy, now in full-on carnival barker mode, figuratively pulled out the McGrady Powerpoint presentation and started selling....
"Joe [Dumars] has been trying to get me for years."
Yes, you heard that right. "Joe has been trying to get me for years." Tracy, the "you" Dumars was trying to get was the one that could actually elevate more than three inches off the ground, the "you" that was only moderately delusional as opposed to this iteration that is awash in full on myopia.
Put differently, Tracy, there was also a time where men would have hit on Jamie Lee Curtis. Just sayin'.
In the below interview with some unnamed Pistons honk, Tracy talks about how he's worked extremely hard to fight all the way back from his knee injury problems. How he's only 31 years old and God hasn't taken away his talents.
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...aaaand tonight Tracy McGrady will be sitting out with "tired legs." Literally, the injury report lists him with "tired legs." Tracy McGrady's legs are tired. To quote my co-worker Travis Rodgers -- tired legs...THAT'S a thing. (Yes, apparently, it is.)
Tracy McGrady has turned fatigue into an injury. And sadly it might be his greatest accomplishment yet.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.