Maybe it's because he was given official "ambassador" status a couple years ago, perhaps it's because China is one of the few locales left where he hasn't lost a playoff series, but most likely because he happened to share roster space (and the benefits of a robust health plan) with Yao Ming for about five years, Chinese people LOVE Tracy McGrady!
It doesn't matter if T-Mac has morphed from a dynamic two-time scoring champion into a part-time swingman who gets up and down the floor with the speed and agility of Fred Sanford, if Tracy is selling, the Chinese are buying!
This phenomenon apparently includes beer.
I have no idea if Sedrin beer is good-quality beer or if it's the Chinese equivalent of some kind of piss water. (For what it's worth, the bottles are designed and colored strikingly similarly to Rolling Rock.) Whatever the case, Sedrin appears to be an NBA sponsor of some sort and Tracy McGrady is apparently speaking for them (and if he isn't officially speaking for them, this is the best-edited, most peculiar candid video of all time).
I don't speak Chinese, so much like one would with a silent movie, I will have to do some body-language and physical-comedy forensics to try and discern the plot of this 30-second ad.
0:02 -- Tracy McGrady is walking somewhere, with a six-pack of Sedrin in his hands and a quiet sense of purpose in his heart. How do you know Tracy McGrady is a big deal? Well, his autograph is on the screen when they show the tight front shot of him from Camera 2. Autograph equals "big deal," got it? Also, I guess this is how we know it's really Tracy McGrady and not some impostor -- his autograph authenticates himself (that and his lackadaisical right peeper).
0:04 -- So why is Tracy strolling along carrying a sixer of Chinese beer? Well, apparently, it's because he's either in China or in the Chinatown section of some plush suburb in the United States (trees, brick homes, tennis courts...perhaps the Chinatown section of Champions Forest). Also, there's four Chinese dudes, and they're speaking Chinese. (I didn't say these would be complicated forensics.)
0:05 -- The four rapscallions have set a trap for T-Mac and a basketball is the bait. It appears that they have wedged their ball in between the rim and the glass, and one of them volunteers to politely request that Tracy dislodge their ball from its game-stopping peril. Tracy obliges, apparently oblivious to the fact that all four of the amateur ballers have scurried away chuckling at the hilarity that is about to ensue.
0:09 -- Tracy actually jumps to try and knock the ball loose with his right hand while holding his six-pack in his left hand -- total amateur move.
0:10 -- In what is by far the most realistic part of the video, Tracy is unable to tap the ball out on his first jumping attempt as he barely grazes the net with his hand. Rocket fans are having seizures right now as visions of this dance through their heads...
....as they vow to never, ever drink a bottle of Sedrin. EVER.
0:12 -- Tracy thinks to himself (perhaps in Chinese), "Maybe if I get a running start, I can help these young lads get their ball back...wherever they may have gone." So Tracy places his beer on the ground (UH OH!), and inexplicably decides to leap up and grab the ball with two hands. He quickly realizes what Admiral Akbar had warned all of us -- IT'S A TRAP!!
0:14 -- Somehow, despite the most poorly concocted plan to steal beer in the history of teenage shenanigans, these four Chinese youths managed to rope Tracy McGrady into grabbing a wedged basketball with two hands and, while Tracy was focusing on the task at hand, they managed to sneak into the brush and crank the adjustable rim to about 20 feet in the air. (By the way, these kids are playing on the bizarro teenage playground basketball court. When I was a kid, we wanted a hoop that adjusted downward to, say, eight feet so we could dunk. Apparently, in China they like to have the option of raising the hoop to 20 feet so that making jump shots becomes nearly impossible. Oh, and so they can trap aging NBA stars high in the air while they steal their beer.)
0:18 -- The four cackling thieves bask in the glow of a perfectly executed (albeit far-fetched) scheme by cracking open T-Mac's icy cold Sedrin beers and taunting him while he dangles high above. But they forgot about one thing...
0:20 --Yeah, whichever member of this gang of street toughs was responsible for making sure that Tracy remained out of the picture long enough for them to drink the stolen lager, that guy forgot about Tracy's one go-to escape route, an old friend of his that has become like an angel on his shoulder in the latter part of his NBA career -- GRAVITY! Yeah, by merely letting go of the rim, a vengeful McGrady returns to the ground, ready to reclaim his stolen liquid gold. (This was by far the most unrealistic part of the commercial since anyone who has watched Tracy McGrady over the last ten years knows that if he were to let go of a rim from 20 feet in the air, his legs would shatter into a million pieces on contact with the pavement.)
0:23 --Tracy utters a Chinese phrase and breaks out in an ear-to-ear grin. Apparently unperturbed by the youths' dangling him from high in the air and the attempted theft of his property, Tracy decides to take the high road and share his beer with the lads.
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0:28 -- While whipping the ball behind his back and wedging it back into the rim and glass portion of the backboard, Tracy utters one more Chinese phrase (which I will pretend means "Hey, there's Metta World Peace. Let's see if we can pull that same stunt on him!").
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.