NBA legacies heavily involve championship rings. Anyone who even briefly participated in the GOAT debate between LeBron James and Michael Jordan knows this. Earning a ring is the ultimate goal and, therefore, the ultimate milestone that basketball fans and media personalities use when looking at the careers of players.
However, when the NBA talk is all about championships, it does a huge disservice to the stars who couldn’t win one. On the Draymond Green show, Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady praised the obsession with championships when discussing players. He insisted he had the talent to win a title if his teams had the right pieces around him.
— The Volume (@TheVolumeSports) January 19, 2022
During his 15-year NBA career, McGrady collected seven All-Star nominations, seven All-NBA team selections (including two first-team), two consecutive goalscoring titles and a Most Valuable Player award. improved. At his peak, he was unquestionably better than Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba legitimized the debate when he declared McGrady to be the toughest player he had ever kept.
Still, McGrady has had very little playoff success in his career, never even making it past the first round. His best days came with the Orlando Magic, where the only high-profile costar he had was an injury-riddled Grant Hill. Next, he teamed with Yao Ming on the Houston Rockets, but both suffered injuries that limited the team’s cap. McGrady’s inability to win a ring was never about talent. Those who played against him support him.
McGrady touts two other legends, Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley, to argue that rings shouldn’t be the ultimate end to judging NBA careers. There are tons of other stars – Allen Iverson, Chris Paul, James Harden, Elgin Baylor – whose accolades don’t include a championship ring.
Championships are, of course, the ultimate goal. But they’re not the only measure of success that individual players should be held to. Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd alluded to this when discussing Luka Doncic, explaining that even the best superstars can’t do it alone.
In a team sport with so many moving parts, winning championships is very hard to do. McGrady’s take may seem whiny, but he argues it takes more than one star to make a championship team.