Tracy McGrady recently retired from the NBA after a short stint with the San Antonio Spurs capped off his 16-year professional career. He was a seven-time All-Star and two-time scoring champion, but he never captured a championship. He also didn’t have the chance to play alongside a consistent force like Shaquille O’Neal.
McGrady was talking with Jay Mohr Sports on FOX Sports Radio when the topic of Shaq came up. He said they could have had a great run together and the situation certainly wouldn’t have dissolved like it did with Kobe Bryant, as Steve DelVecchio of Larry Brown Sports reported:
If T-Mac feels that his game was comparable to Kobe’s, that must mean he believed he could have won multiple championships with Shaquille O’Neal as well.
“We would have had a great run,” he said when asked about Shaq. “I don’t know how many but, I know it would have never ended like it did with he and Kobe. I have a great relationship with Shaq. We would have never clashed heads like that. Two Alpha dogs going at there will always be (something going on).”
While Bryant and O’Neal were teaming up to dominate the league in the early part of the last decade, McGrady was stuck playing for teams that couldn’t match the talent level of the Los Angeles Lakers.
When he led the league in scoring with the Orlando Magic, it was out of necessity. He had to hoist more than 20 shots per game in order to keep the team competitive. In contrast, Bryant could always lean on his dominant big man if he was having an off night.
Although it wasn’t exactly a storybook ending for the dynamic Lakers duo, they were virtually unstoppable before things started to deteriorate. So it’s hard to imagine that a tandem of McGrady and Shaq would have been superior.
Furthermore, McGrady might have a good relationship with the former center now, but it’s hard to know how it would have held up over numerous playoff runs. Tensions run high, even among buddies with a common goal.
That said, the comments from McGrady shouldn’t come as a major surprise. Like Kobe, he’s always been a supremely confident player. It would have been nice if he was able to find a constantly competitive team to challenge the Lakers on a yearly basis, but it didn’t happen.
So, fans are forced to think about hypothetical situations, like a McGrady-and-Shaq pairing instead of Bryant and the big man. It’s hard to argue against three championship rings, though.