August 19, 2017 | 7:03 am
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NBA Champ or Hall of Fame: Which would you rather be?

  1. Tracy McGrady stirred up a little off season drama this past week with comments he made after being selected into the Hall of Fame earlier this year. McGrady played a total of 15 years in the NBA upon being selected as the 9th pick overall by the Toronto Raptors in 1997. The Florida native averaged 19.6 points, 4.4 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game over the course of his time in the league. McGrady was no doubt one of the best players of his era. He made 7 All-Star appearances, he was selected to the All NBA 1st Team twice, and he won two consecutive scoring titles in 2003 & 2004. ESPN notes that McGrady is one of 7 players in NBA history with 8 straight seasons of 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. He shares this select category with the likes of Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant & Kevin Durant–all NBA Champions.

 

 

Unfortunately, a championship ring eluded McGrady his entire career. Despite incredible personal stats, the NBA great was unable to reach what most in the league consider the pinnacle of success. You may have seen me mention before that leading the stat line doesn’t equate to being a good leader of people, and unfortunately McGrady falls into this NBA title purgatory along with other future Hall of Famers like Carmelo Anthony. McGrady doesn’t seem to mind (at least publicly), and he made that clear this week when he said, “Anybody can win an NBA championship. Everybody can’t get in the Hall of Fame.”

NBA champion JR Smith condemned McGrady’s comments, noting that anyone who is competing for the Hall of Fame and not a championship is wasting their teammates’ time.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I have to agree wholeheartedly with Smith. The Hall of Fame is reserved for incredible players, but those players were not always the best competitors. NBA player and coaching champion Steve Kerr said,

“When I look at McGrady, it reminds me of why Michael Jordan is Michael Jordan and Larry Bird is Larry Bird. It’s not just talent, there’s got to be a fire in the belly, there’s got to be a competitive edge where you want to kill the guy across from you.”

That fire in the belly is the competitor’s mindset that allows athletes like Bird and Jordan the seemingly magical ability to lead their team to victory no matter what. They’re able to overcome insurmountable obstacles while motivating others around them to rise to their personal best, and achieve their dreams.

Now, there will be those that come with the argument that McGrady just didn’t have the right players around him, or he didn’t have the luck, or whatever the excuse may be. All I know is that the proof is in the pudding, and if you’re a Hall of Famer, but you didn’t get a ring you weren’t the level of competitor that was able to take a team to a championship–bottom line. McGrady spent fifteen years in the league with multiple different teams, coaches, and teammates–there’s only one common denominator.

If you ask me, I would rather be both a champion and a Hall of Famer because that would mean I not only achieved the goal I was working toward, but I was a critical piece, if not a key leader in getting my team to that level of success. However, if I absolutely had to pick one, I would choose to be a champion any day. I would sleep easier at night knowing that I achieved something only an elite few ever experience in professional sports.

Ultimately, I not only disagree with McGrady’s statement, I feel the complete opposite. Any ball hog who can play will be selected into the Hall of Fame, but not everyone can help lead their team to a ring.

 

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