NBA career’s come and go, players get drafted or signed to a certain team and play their years. When key or historic players decided to announce their departure from the game. Fans, writers and players of the NBA get a chance to reflect on those players careers and get a chance to critique them. In this case, the players that have hung up the sneakers although given these two players some might say it was long overdue and decided to call it quits. Allen Iverson announced his retirement on August 22,While former All Star Tracy Mcgrady announced his just a week after Iverson announced his. Mcgrady announced his retirement on ESPN’s First Take He spoke about his decision,
“It’s been 16 years playing the game I love,” McGrady said on ESPN’s First Take. “I’ve had a great run, but it’s time for it to come to an end.”
Tracy Mcgrady was drafted by the Raptors back in 1997 and made an impact with his cousin Vince in helping the Raptors get noticed and a mark in the NBA. In three seasons with Toronto, He averaged 7.0 ppg in his rookie year, 9.3 in his second year, and 15.4 in his final year with the Dinos, Before being moved to Orlando, and later Houston. with stops in New York, Atlanta, Detroit, and more recently, the Spurs. His best year was in 2002-03 where he averaged 32 points per game, and had a PER over 20 in 10 of his 17 season. He averaged a PER of 30 in 2002-03 which his best of his career, and as crazy as anything when you think about it. He was a phenomenal player that for his size made most of his shots by the jumper, but that would not discount his driving ability. His hands were one of the best in the league, and he could get to the rim with ease whether it be by the left or right. He was a back to back scoring champ in 02-03 and 03-04 and held the largest margin of a scoring lead in NBA History, according to NBA History’s twitter page.
Image via Getty and Yahoo Sports
Those times he was considered one of the more efficient and prolific scorers in the league next to likes of Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter. But Playoff failures and criticism of “not caring” haunted Mcgrady. As he continually failed to get past the first round (until he got signed by the Spurs) and lack of playoff performance would tarnish a hall of fame career. His nagging injury problems with both his knees and back would force him to miss much of his latter years with Houston and demolish any scoring ability he had by the young age of 31. His star playing role would be reduced to less minutes and bench warming time while he played for several NBA teams. People stopped thinking of prolific scorer he was and thought more of a role player trying to make the most of his salary. It was a shame really. He left fair earlier than he announced he did, everyone knew it. People like me though, wished and hoped there was a little of that old “T-mac: left in him that would just shine one more time. But it was not to be, it was never to be.
Then there is Allen Iverson. Arguably the most influential, controversial and game changers when it came to Basketball. Drafted out of Georgetown by the Sixers number one overall in the loaded 96 NBA Draft. Allen Iverson wasted no time making an impact, he would win the 96-97 NBA Rookie of the year with postings of 23 ppg and 7.1 assists while shooting 41 percent from the floor, and 31 percent from three-point land. For a guy who did not want to play basketball but football, he fit right in with the league, and his hip hop vibe would not only take notice with the NBA, but changed the way the game was played and viewed in a way no other player could do. He was one of the more respected and complete players in the NBA. He sits 19th in the NBA All Time Scoring list 24,368 points, leading the likes of Charles Barkley, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. He won the NBA MVP back in 2000-2001 while winning 2 ASG MVPs. Unlike Tracy, it did not take him a long time to get passed the first round of the playoffs. He would move on and face the eventual Lakers in the NBA Finals, but not before facing the Toronto Raptors in one of the more memorable games and series in NBA history, With Iverson advancing and winning the Eastern Finals.
Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press
He brought back hope in the city of Philadelphia, for what was once a lowly Sixers squad that was desperate for a player who would take charge and be the new face, He made the Sixers from one of the more forgetful teams into one you could not miss out on game in and game out. His game at times were questioned, People clamming him selfish and not a “team guy” because he would jack up more shots than pass . But people would not question the one thing he showed the most. Heart, Very few players showed the guts and the want to win more than A.I. For his small frame at a small height of six feet – while only weighing 165 pounds – they thought Iverson would not handle the toughness of the paint, and should have been more of a perimeter player. While he did have a pretty good perimeter game, it was his driving and constant trips to the foul line that made him great. He was one of the toughest players in the League and was fearless of any competition he faced. His drives to the basket and tough lay-ups would make him very efficient. He would shoot a career 41 percent from the floor, while having a career PER of 20.9 throughout his career. He was always a big part of a team’s offence, as he posted a USG% rate of 30.1, most of them coming when he played with basically no one during his Philly years.
But his career took an interesting turn, in the year of 2006, Allen Iverson would be traded out of his beloved Sixers squad and to the Nuggets. This was one of the bigger trades that year, that has happened in the NBA. the Sixers would get vet guard Andre Miller, and NBA journeyman Joe Smith from the Nuggets, along with a 2007 first round pick. Iverson posted great numbers and took control of the offence for Carmelo Anthony who was suspended for that famous brawl at the Garden back in 2006. While Iverson flourished with the high-flying and fast paced Nuggets offence. He never did mesh with Melo enough to make a real post-season threat and would bow out to the Clippers in the Western Conference Quarter Finals.
Iverson would soon find his way to the poor, poor city of Detroit in a deal that sent Chauceny Billups and vet Antonio Mcdyess to the Nuggets. This deal was the start of the downfall of Iverson. His problems with Detroit were noted as he would only spend 54 games and one season with the Pistons while posting only 17.4 ppg. It would not take long for Iverson to get traded to Memphis, where problems with him being on the bench and not getting enough minutes would have him only play 3 games and averaging his lowest scoring total of 12.2 ppg. His frustrations with management and teammates would get media to take a different look at Ai, Not the one who dominated the floor, but one who put his ego ahead of the team and coaches. One who would not take ” playing off bench’ lightly with Iverson mouthing off about his lack of starts.
Iverson would play his final NBA season back at Philly, but never did he get back into the old groove of things. He left the NBA to play some games in turkey, and china. The fire and passion seemed lost and his money also followed suit, with apparent reports of him filing for bankruptcy His respect and the love that he had with so many people vanished and was replaced with feelings for worry, and criticism was weighed heavily into Iversons shoulders. No one knows his current situation now, but his retirement sure places a question mark and a concern for his well-being.
Tracy Mcgrady and Iverson both were huge inspirations for kids who wanted to ball. Hell, the main reason I got into basketball was Iverson. He was the first j basketball Jersey I ever owned. Both put on shows day in and out, both scored 60 in their sleep, and both changed the game in ways more than one. Iverson brought a more Urban feel to the game, and hip hop felt like it was home with the NBA, and Tracy, with the help of Yao Ming, brought the NBA to China, and helped make it one of the NBA’s most important and profitable places in the world. Tracy help the Raptors be on the map with Carter, while making hoops in Canada not only important, but a one of the improving and building sites for future NBA players. Iverson and his street rep had so much effect that it forced Stern to put in a dress code.
These guys are NBA Hall of Famers no doubt, they both put up crazy numbers, both were ASG selections, and both were important for the NBA to be as big as it has ever been. From Tracy’s dunk over Shawn Bradley, to Iversons cross on Tyrone Lue. These plays helped future stars like KD and Curry want to step up and be the NBA stars they are. So I say thank you, to both of you, in a way I can only say. With YouTube clips