Tracy McGrady is serious about this baseball thing — so serious about pitching that he’s enlisted assistance from Roger Clemens.
McGrady, a seven-time NBA all-star who played mostly for the Houston Rockets, is working out with the Sugar Land Skeeters, the team with which Clemens made his brief comeback in the summer of 2012. Like Michael Jordan when he took a hiatus from the Chicago Bulls to try his hand at baseball, McGrady spoke in terms of a “dream.”
“Just having a tryout for a minor league team is more fulfilling than anything I can imagine as far as baseball,” McGrady told ESPN.com Tuesday. “I’m just going to train as hard as I can and pursue my dream. Where this takes me, I don’t know. I’m doing this for the love of the game. I’ve made money. The Atlantic League doesn’t have salaries like the major leagues. So this is a kid who’s trying to fulfill his dream. This isn’t a gimmick. I’ve played baseball. I know the game of baseball. And I’m going after what I’ve always wanted to do.”
McGrady, 34, last played in the NBA in the 2012-13 season. He was the Toronto Raptors’ ninth overall pick out of high school in 1997. He spent three seasons with the Raptors, then four with the Orlando Magic, leading the league in scoring twice. He then spent six years in Houston.
A 6-foot-8 righthander, McGrady isn’t going to be an overnight success, although Clemens said he was hitting 90 mph on a radar gun for the Skeeters, have no major league affiliation.
“He’s not there yet,” Clemens told the Houston Chronicle. “[He] needs more time and needs to react to live hitters and balls coming back [toward] him.”
But if it’s love … “This is a story of someone who is truly, genuinely playing for the love of the game. I made a lot of money during my NBA career,” McGrady told ESPN. “This is for the sheer love of playing baseball.”