I just read this ESPN article in disbelief. T-Mac will have season-ending surgery on his left knee. I don’t know why I’m so stunned, because I really should have seen this coming. We knew T-Mac was finished. With a back that seems more injury-prone than my 82 year old grandpa’s and a left knee about as reliable as a Fiat, mark my words ladies and gentlemen – THIS IS THE END OF T-MAC.

I don’t take pleasure saying that. I don’t like spreading doomsday messages. I hope that Tracy gets back to 100%. But if you don’t won’t to believe that, at least believe that 1) We have seen the best of Tracy McGrady and it was like, six years ago, and 2) This Houston Rockets team will never win a championship. Yao has evidently not turned into the dominating Hakeem 2.0 that every Houston fan hoped for, and Ron Artest was never meant to be anything more than a really serviceable third banana. It all hinged around T-Mac, and now he’s gone.

Like I said, I shouldn’t be surprised. Since his classic 2002-2003 season (remember back then a lot of people thought he was better than Kobe) T-Mac has missed the following number of games each season:

2003-04: 15
2004-05: 4
2005-06: 35
2006-07: 11
2007-08: 16
2008-09: 47

It is an unenviable record only recently rivaled by Elton Brand. But this is no Elton Brand. This isn’t a hyped young superstar-turned-bust. This is Tracy freaken McGrady. Once the greatest scorer on the planet. Once the most unstoppable one-man show in the league. A player who broke the mold, a player who has his own category of player named after him. A player seemingly destined for the Hall of Fame. What has happened to T-Mac’s legacy? Never mind the constant first round playoff disappointments – how’s he supposed to even reach the playoffs if he can’t withstand an 82 game season anymore? He can’t, he won’t. In 35 games this year T-Mac averaged 15.6 points on 39% shooting from the field. Do they sound like Tracy McGrady numbers to you? They look more like Flip Murray numbers to me. They look like old man about-to-retire Jerry Stackhouse numbers.

I’ve always been a legacy guy. I seem to care more about a player’s place in history than most people I know. Maybe it’s because I already spend a lot of time reading about the old greats in history books, or because I constantly sense an under-appreciation by others for the greatness we see in front of us today. Or maybe it’s because I’m all too aware that despite the hundreds of games, thousands of points and countless precious moments a player experiences throughout their career, their legacy is only written once. Maybe I worry too much. For T-Mac’s sake I hope, because right now I fear the legacy writer’s pens are inked and ready, and they’re not about to wait around to finish this chapter.

UPDATE: Seems like I’m not the only one proclaiming the end of T-Mac.


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