I’m a lifelong Orlando Magic fan and there was a point in life where I despised Tracy McGrady.
That day was June 29, 2004, when the then-future NBA Hall of Famer forced a trade to the Houston Rockets. While entirely justified in his demand—year after year, McGrady was surrounded by about as much talent as Eminem had in D12—I was still livid and carried that resentment for years. But now that McGrady is retired, and very much thriving in the next chapter of his career, I’m left with no choice but to clap it up for the two-time NBA scoring champ.
After toying around with baseball in 2014, and now killing it as an analyst on ESPN, the New York Times reports that the 41-year-old has his sights set on his next endeavor: a sports agency.
Seven1 Sports Group and Entertainment, set to make its debut in the fall, is the brainchild of McGrady and former NBA star Jermaine O’Neal.
“We think it’s needed, and we have a passion for it,” McGrady said. “We’re around kids every single day because we have youth programs. It just makes sense. We see the lack of information that these kids are getting, so we would be doing a disservice to our people if we don’t lend our expertise of what we know and help guide them. This is a calling that we have.”
These are also circumstances that McGrady and O’Neal know all too well. Both of them came straight out of high school to achieve NBA superstardom, only to suffer serious injuries that robbed them of their prime years before their careers fizzled out way too soon.
“There’s no magic wand for this,” O’Neal said. “We’re not trying to say we’re the magic wand. But we’re going to be different. You can’t name another pair of people who have had the level of success and the ups and downs that we’ve had in our careers.”
McGrady will serve as co-owner of the company and most likely leave his role at ESPN in order to advise their clients. As for O’Neal, he’ll partner with McGrady and test to become a registered NBA agent in January—and don’t think that they’re even the least bit intimidated by a market saturated with other agencies.
“At the end of the day, they can’t get all the players,” McGrady said. “Obviously it’s going to take us some time to get our feet wet and really understand how this thing works. But we’re not intimidated by anybody. We know there’s going to be a lot of people trying to poke holes into this.”
I forgive you, Tracy. Go forth and be blessed.