Down memory lane and a note on another tournament
Has there been an ex-Raptor who’s killed his old team more consistently over the years than Tracy McGrady?
Yes, HWSNBN (that’ll send some newbies scurrying to the archives) had some big ones, and dramatic ones, but over the years, Tracy’s beaten them up and loved every minute of it.
Wonder if he can do it again tonight?
Well, maybe finally they have someone who can guard him a little bit because, above all else, McGrady’s been a matchup nightmare that Jay hopes ends.
“We think that James (Johnson) will probably start on him, I think James can probably guard him on the perimeter and in the post. I think we have a little bit better matchup now than we did the last time we played them.”
But what of Tracy overall?
Good career? Great one? Disappointing one?
He’s had some great individual years – he was sublime in Orlando on somewhat so-so teams – but when it comes down to figuring out what he was when it’s all over, I’m going with more disappointing than anything.
He’s never played on a team that won a playoff series, I’m not sure he’s made those around him better and while uniquely skilled, I’m more about overall success than anything else.
I like Tracy’s game, he has that combination of power and grace that no one saw when he was a scrawny kid playing in Toronto but when it’s done, I think many will say, ‘he didn’t quite have the impact he should have.’
I do remember the first night I saw him, though.
NBA draft night, 1997 in Charlotte back when the league used to take its draft show on the road.
Raptors take him with the ninth pick, something of a surprise since Isiah had kept his interest pretty quiet, and I remember him walking through the corridors pledging to donate something like $300,000 to Mt. Zion Christian Academy, the prep school he went to.
Then I remember driving up to the school to do a follow up story the day after the draft and, while I don’t recall specifics, I do remember leaving the place and thinking:
Cult. Basketball factory. Tough life for teens.
The Ides come and the Ides go and everyone out there who wanted me to talk about Julius Ceasar will have to wait another year.
And I’m kind of surprised so few of you caught on yesterday.
Since we’re in Michigan and all …
Q: Hey Doug! I've been reading your blog for a few years now, and am a big fan of what you do. I think you're a master craftsman when it comes to print (as evidenced by the short lived grunt-tv experiment :P).
You've got a way of being entertaining without sensationalism, or acting as if the world revolves around roundball, as many television "sports experts" would have us believe (broadcasting from what looks like space stations). Doesn't ESPN kinda look like it's on Mars? I'm curious as to your take on Jalen Rose's success as an ESPN analyst. He's obviously a gregarious guy. But does it stick in your craw that he's has such relatively quick success at what you've been doing your whole career (albeit through a different medium)? There's no question he's a natural at what he does, but he's relatively inexperienced at it. Are stations like ESPN giving us the best of what's out there? Where's the DOUG?! Thanks, man. Keep on keepin' on.
You've got a way of being entertaining without sensationalism, or acting as if the world revolves around roundball, as many television "sports experts" would have us believe (broadcasting from what looks like space stations). Doesn't ESPN kinda look like it's on Mars?
I'm curious as to your take on Jalen Rose's success as an ESPN analyst. He's obviously a gregarious guy. But does it stick in your craw that he's has such relatively quick success at what you've been doing your whole career (albeit through a different medium)? There's no question he's a natural at what he does, but he's relatively inexperienced at it. Are stations like ESPN giving us the best of what's out there? Where's the DOUG?!
Thanks, man. Keep on keepin' on.
J A B, Toronto
A: Funny you should ask since I’ve just now looked over my shoulder at the news break on Mike and Mike In The Morning and there was our man Jalen doing is stuff on last night’s game.
He’s good because he’s got a bit of outrageous in him, he’ll say stuff he knows will surprise people and, frankly, he’s more “entertaining” than “informative” and that’s okay because that’s what TV has become to a very, very large degree.
Now, I remember Jalen telling us when he was here that the “a member of the media” because he’d done some summer work and stuff around the finals so I’m not sure he’s had “relatively quick” success.
But he is what he is. He can be funny, he knows the people in the game and he, like so many others who aren’t nearly as good, have the cache of having been in and around the game for a long time.
And, frankly, TV is about recognition as much as anything so guys like him are always going to get the gigs.
Me? I’d like to do something sometime; trouble is, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of free time.
If you can wade through the never-ending coverage of college basketball in the locals, you find this on the Pistons.
Of course, it’s on college basketball.
Green Toronto jerseys tonight because nothing says St. Patrick’s Day better than Raptors and Pistons in front of a few thousand fans in Auburn Hills, Mich., that bastion of North American Irish.
I get this whole “alternate-jersey-how-can-we-separate-our-fans-from-more-of-their-money” thing, honestly I do, but this is a stretch, no?
Or is it more of a stretch to do it at home on Friday a day after the fact?
And I wonder if they’ll break out the Celtic replica jerseys tonight?
Try as I might, first road trip since Old Blimey and not only couldn’t I find a 350-year-old pub to hang out in, I walk to the sports bar across the street from the hotel for dinner and they’re drink special is $2.50 pints of …
Found something local, hung out, watched games, home early.
No, not all road trips are created equally.
Okay, I have officially decreed that March Madness does not start until Thursday at noon because I saw a bit of the game between two No. 16 seeds Tuesday and my retinas burned.
So, tomorrow you get your Final Four.
But I see by a tweet from my friend Allison McNeill that there are 13 Canadian women in the NCAA tournament and that there’s a big game Saturday out in Salt Lake between Natalie Achonwa (Guelph) and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Michelle Plouffe (Edmonton) and the Utah Utes.
Wonder if I can get the dude at Mickey Mantle’s in Oklahoma City to put it on the TV for me?