‘Adidas lured Tracy McGrady with $12 million to ditch Kentucky in 1997’: When Rockets star told Shannon Sharpe why chose bag over varsity prom

Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady was one of the few players to join the NBA right out of high school, but that wouldn’t have happened without a significant amount of money on the line.

The former Magic and Rockets star was one of the greatest offensive talents in the NBA when he was playing. He was drafted in 1997 by the Toronto Raptors, and he finally showed he belonged in the league even though he didn’t play basketball in college.

His early years in the league were tough for the youngster, but eventually McGrady was able to grow into the attacking talent we all remember.

In his fourth year in the league, T-Mac made the All Star team as a member of the Orlando Magic averaging 26.8 points per game. He peaked in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons where he led the league in scoring in consecutive seasons. In 2002-03, McGrady averaged a ridiculous 32.1 points per game to lead the league.

Of course, McGrady’s most memorable moment came as a member of the Houston Rockets when he scored 13 points in 33 seconds to lead the team to a wild victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

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Tracy McGrady turned down college basketball for $12 million from Adidas

McGrady was very determined to play college basketball. He wanted to go play for Kentucky, and the idea appealed to him so much that he also visited the college, deciding to go to school.

T-Mac did, however, explain the proposal that ultimately kept him from going to Kentucky.

“I took my business to a few colleges,” McGrady told Shannon Sharpe. “When I went to Kentucky and saw how those boys lived, I said ‘this is where I want to go to school.’ I’m sitting in my coach’s office, he’s giving me this speech, “I know you love Kentucky and what it has to offer and I know you’ll be fine. I have an offer from Adidas, they really want you badly.'”

So what exactly was this offer?

“And when he sat in front of me, at that time, at 18, it’s not a hard decision… Forget college, they can’t offer me 12 million dollars, I can’t not denying that… They were in Florida and I was in North Carolina, so I made the call. Obviously, they were overwhelmed with joy. And that’s what it’s all about for me. Having that kind of impact on your family. I didn’t have the chance to win a championship but when I think back to what I was able to do for my mom and my grandma, absolutely.

$12 million is an incredible amount and at 18 it’s hard to say no to that kind of money when you know you have so much talent and talent to succeed in the league. He also went into more detail about why he chose silver at that time.

“I’m going to Kentucky. If I can make $12 million and enjoy the college experience, why not? I love college basketball, I watch it frequently. I watch my Kentucky Wildcats faithfully. Yeah, I would have taken that $12 million and gone to Kentucky for sure…I think the only thing I miss is the whole March Madness thing.

“This experience is for me the memory that you would like to create and that you would like to be able to talk about those memories in 30 to 40 years. For that, I would like to have the opportunity to experience it. But going to parties and doing stuff in life is really not my thing.

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