Tracy McGrady made $600 million worth Kobe Bryant fall and the entire Orlando Magic paid a hefty price for the same
|Fri Jul 22 2022
Tracy McGrady recalls flooring Kobe Bryant and then the Lakers guard retaliates with a monster dunk on the Orlando Magic players, displaying Bryant’s competitiveness.
The list of great players Kobe Bryant has guarded could go on and on. Throughout his career, he’s been one of the best man-to-man defenders in the game, and one player stands out as the most difficult matchup: Tracy McGrady.
Tracy McGrady’s omission from the NBA 75 showcased a general lack of appreciation for his generational basketball gifts.
The former Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets star had one of the most dominant runs in NBA history. T-Mac averaged 27.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.6 steals, and nearly a full block from 2000-01 to 2004-05.
What advice would @kobebryant and Tracy McGrady give to their younger selves?
— ESPN (@espn) February 5, 2019
For a few seasons, there was constant debate about who was the best player in the NBA, between Kobe and McGrady. Unfortunately, McGrady suffered numerous injuries and never adjusted his game as his athleticism waned.
Bryant maintained his high level of play, while McGrady spent the majority of his time on the bench for the San Antonio Spurs.
Tracy McGrady floors Kobe Bryant and his team instantly gets laid out by the Mamba
McGrady is a two-time scoring champion who has the ability to contribute at all three levels. He possessed exceptional athleticism and length, as well as exceptional passing abilities and an underappreciated reputation as a defender. McGrady would not simply dominate in the modern game. He’d be a league MVP multiple times.
According to ESPN, Bryant stated, “Tracy McGrady was the single hardest matchup I had in my career because he could do pretty much everything on offense.”
McGrady was taller than Bryant, and Bryant struggled to defend him. Bryant appeared to be guarding a taller version of himself.
T-Mac floored Kobe and hit a midrange shot over the Lakers’ man during one of their matchups. Kobe is known for his mental toughness, and he was not pleased to be embarrassed by another player. On a different possession, Bryant dribbled up the court and bashed the entire Orlando team with a vicious dunk.
“He made me fall.” – Kobe Bryant
“But you embarrassed my whole team.” – Tracy McGrady
— Kobe Highlights & Motivation (@kobehighlight) July 13, 2022
Bryant and McGrady have been the subject of numerous discussions and debates, particularly in the early 2000s, when McGrady was at his peak. People would debate who was the better player of the two, and it was never an easy decision. That was how similar their games were.
Who knows how much longer and more impactful McGrady’s career could have been if he hadn’t suffered those injuries. But he will always be remembered as the most difficult player Bryant had to guard during his NBA career.