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Houston Rockets small forward/shooting guard Tracy "T-Mac" McGrady was born in Bartow, Fla., on May 24, 1979. The 6' 8" hoops prodigy was one of the earliest players to go straight out of high school and get drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA). Taken ninth overall by the Toronto Raptors, McGrady very nearly went to the Chicago Bulls in a deal that would have sent Bulls small forward Scottie Pippin to the Vancouver Grizzlies, but superstar point guard Michael Jordan threatened retirement if his teammate was to be traded away.
McGrady grew up playing baseball and basketball in his hometown of Auburndale, Fla. When he was young, his father wasn't around much, and he was raised by his mother and grandmother. He attended Auburndale High School, and when a neighboring town's coach saw him play he contacted Joe Hopkins, the basketball coach at Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, North Carolina. Hopkins took T-Mac to visit the school, and on the way he offered him a full scholarship. His NBA career would begin after leaving Mount Zion.
Early in his career he was overshadowed by teammate Vince Carter, who is also McGrady's cousin. In 2000 the two would lead Toronto to its first postseason but failed to reach the second round. The next fall T-Mac was traded to the Orlando Magic where he improved so much during his first season in his new home that he made the all-star team. McGrady kept on improving, and in the 2002-03 season he averaged 32 points per game, winning the NBA scoring title. The following season he averaged 28 points per game, capped off with a career high 62 against the Washington Wizards late in the year.
During the 2004 off season McGrady was traded to the Houston Rockets in a seven player deal. There he teamed up with 7' 6" Chinese phenom Yao Ming, and together they led the team to the playoffs. But for T-Mac, again his team failed to make it out of the first round. Going into his sixth NBA season, McGrady has been one of the most successful young players to come straight from high school and has a promising career ahead of him.