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Tracy McGrady keeps torturing us with the story of how he almost came to Kentucky

Noren Trotman/NBAE/Getty Images

Noren Trotman/NBAE/Getty Images

One of the biggest hypotheticals in Kentucky Basketball history is what the late 1990s would have been like had Tracy McGrady come to Lexington instead of making the jump straight to the NBA. The seven-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA scoring champ has often talked about how much he wanted to go to Kentucky as a high school recruit before changing his plans, and last week, opened up to Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson about his trip to UK’s campus in 1997 on the “All the Smoke” podcast.

I wanted to go to college, bro. I was going to Kentucky. I took my visit to Kentucky and Derek Anderson was my host. I pulled up to the Kentucky campus, bro, and I seen them boys got them fully-loaded Eddie Bauers outside.”

For our younger readers, “fully-loaded Eddie Bauers” refers to the Eddie Bauer line of Ford Explorers, Broncos, and Expeditions. They were hot stuff.

“I said, ‘Hold up, brother. This is where I’m going right here. I don’t want to go do no more visits.’ The player lounge where they stayed, everything was plush. I said, ‘Bro, I’m coming. I don’t want no more visits. This is where I’m going.'”

Of course, money talks. McGrady said Adidas’ six-year, $12 million contract was too good to refuse.

“Time goes by, I’m playing my season, my name is getting stronger. Sitting in my coach’s office, and he said, ‘I know you want to go to Kentucky. I know you want to go to college but after I tell you this, you’re going to forget all about it.’ I said, ‘Tell me what?’ ‘I’ve got a $12 million deal for you.’ I said, ‘From who?’ He said, ‘From Adidas.’ I said, ‘Ah, sh*t, let’s sign.’…My college dream went out the window. I signed for that bag. That was it.”

Of course, McGrady went on to a Hall of Fame career and signed a lifetime contract with Adidas in 2002, so I’d say it worked out for him. Kentucky did just fine during those years too, but oh, what could have been…

You can see the entire podcast below. McGrady starts talking about UK around the 12-minute mark.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

16 Comments for Tracy McGrady keeps torturing us with the story of how he almost came to Kentucky

  1. SuperTroy18
    10:07 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

    Soooooo…he’s making it look like we paid our guys??

  2. dukeisking
    10:18 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

    Kentucky been paying their players for YEARS.. You can’t be that naive can you?????

    • meeksfor3
      10:35 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

      a dUKe fan talking about anyone else paying players is comedy gold.

    • 4everUKBlue
      11:13 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

      Funny you haven’t trolled here since dook had what espy called the greatest recruiting class in NCAA history including the greatest of all time (Zion) and couldn’t get to the final four. Hell would’ve lost to UCF if the refs had not been in K’s pocket.

  3. clarks
    10:30 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

    Duke must pay more than us then. Lol

  4. dukeisking
    10:35 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

    All power 5 schools pay out cash to players. Remember that there are 2 types of people in the world. The one who is caught and the one who ain’t..?

    • 4everUKBlue
      11:10 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

      You forgot another type, K and UNCheat who are above the rules.

    • ClutchCargo
      11:11 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah, that third type can get caught red handed and get away with it.

    • 4everUKBlue
      11:14 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

      If Kentucky was paying recruits we sure as hell would not be outbid by dook.

  5. Willmunny
    11:35 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

    This is the ultimate no harm, no foul (win/win). If he went to college, he would have been one and done. His freshman year would have been 97-98. We won the National Championship without him that year, and I wouldn’t trade how that team won that title. That is my favorite team of all time, even though the two other championship teams in the last 25 years had more talent.

  6. 4everUKBlue
    11:41 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

    mashbum will be here any minute now to take jab at BBN and the coaching staff.

    • nocode96
      11:52 am May 26, 2020 Permalink

      He will blame it on Cal too somehow.

  7. BigBluSoTru
    12:47 pm May 26, 2020 Permalink

    Ok BBN let’s stop with the self rightous BS yes we do play the same game of having recruits taken care of with gifts and finances just like all other big time programs. During that time Derrick Anderson was driving a Blue Benz fact.

    • CrystalBall
      1:28 pm May 26, 2020 Permalink

      He probably got that Benz at Ohio State.

  8. Fitz
    1:51 pm May 26, 2020 Permalink

    McGrady may have wanted to go to Kentucky and Pitino would have loved to have had him, but he did never qualified academically at Mt.Zion. I watched McGrady in a game during the Charm City Classic in Baltimore. A Mt.Zion fan over-heard me tell my son how pumped I was that McGrady would probably choose Kentucky, and informed us that “Tracy’s not going to Kentucky or any college. Great kid and player, but not smart enough to get into college.”

  9. tvor03
    7:49 pm May 26, 2020 Permalink

    You’re telling me there’s an alternate universe where Tracy McGrady and Dirk Nowitzki teamed up in Lexington to compete for a title?