Vernon Earl Monroe is an American retired professional basketball player. He played for two teams, the Baltimore Bullets and the New York Knicks, during his career in the National Basketball Association. Both teams have retired Monroe's number. Due to his on-court success and flashy style-of-play, Monroe was given the nicknames "Black Jesus" and "Earl the Pearl". Monroe was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990. Born in Philadelphia, Monroe was a playground legend from an early age, his high school teammates at John Bartram High School called him "Thomas Edison" because of the many moves he invented. Growing up in his South Philadelphia neighborhood, Monroe was interested in soccer and baseball more than basketball. By age 14, Monroe was 6'3" and his interest in basketball grew, playing center during most of his youth; some of his "shake-and-bake" style moves originated. "I had to develop flukey-duke shots, what we call la-la, hesitating in the air as long as possible before shooting," Monroe said.
As he was developing as a teenage player, other players would razz him. His mother told him to write down the names of those players. “As you get better than them,” Monroe said his mother instructed, “I want you to scratch those names out.” After graduating from Jonn Bertram High School, Monroe attended a college preparatory school affiliated with Temple University. He worked as a shipping clerk in a factory, while playing basketball at Leon Whitley’s recreation center in Philadelphia. Whitley had played at Winston-Salem Teacher College on their 1953 championship team and encouraged Monroe to attend Winston-Salem to play for coach Clarence "Big House" Gaines. Monroe rose to prominence at a national level at then-Division II Winston-Salem State University, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Under Hall of Fame Coach Gaines, Monroe averaged 7.1 points his freshman year and Monroe tells a story of when he wanted to return to Philadelphia as a freshmen. Coach Gaines called Monroe’s mother and after a stern talk, Monroe stayed in college.
Monroe averaged 23.2 points as a sophomore, 29.8 points as a junior and an amazing 41.5 points his senior year. During that 1966-1967 season, Luix Overbea, a sportswriter for the Winston-Salem Journal, called Monroe’s points “Earl’s pearls.” Soon after, fans began to chant “Earl, the Super Pearl,” and the nickname was born. In 1967, Monroe earned NCAA College Division Player of the Year honors, leading the Rams to the 1967 NCAA College Division Championship with a 77-74 victory over SW Missouri State in the Final. Overall, in his four years at Winston-Salem State University, Monroe averaged 26.7 points, with 2395 total points in 110 games. After he finished his collegiate career, Monroe graduated from Winston-Salem and passed the national teaching exam. Monroe wasn't selected to the 1967 USA Basketball Team to represent the country at the 1967 Pan-American Games after trying out; the 40 person committee failed to select both Monore and fellow future Hall of Fame player Elvin Hayes. Monroe has said that USA coaches said his style of play was “too street, too playground, too black.”
Adding, “It has always left a very bad taste in my mouth.” In 1967, the two-time All-American was drafted No. two overall by the Baltimore Bullets in the first round of the 1967 NBA draft, behind Jimmy Walker, selected by the Detroit Pistons. Monroe won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in a season in which he averaged 24.3 points per game. He scored 56 points in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the third-highest rookie total in NBA history, it was a franchise record broken by Gilbert Arenas on December 17, 2006. Monroe and teammate, future Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Wes Unseld became a formidable combination in Baltimore, Monroe became a cult hero for his ability to run the fast break and for his circus-like shots, he said, "The thing is, I don't know what I'm going to do with the ball, if I don't know, I'm quite sure the guy guarding me doesn't know either." On February 6, 1970, he set an NBA record with 13 points in one overtime in a double-overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons.
In 1968-1969, Monroe averaged 25.8 points, 4.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds, as the Bullets finished 57-25 under Coach Gene Shue, capturing the Eastern Division title. However, the Bullets were swept by the New York Knicks 4-0 in the playoffs after receiving a bye; the Bullets finished 50-32 in 1969-1970, as Monroe averaged 23.4 points, 4.9 assiste and 3.1 rebounds, making the NBA All-Star team. The Bullets were again beaten by the Knicks 4-3 in the playoffs. In 1970-1971, the Bullets captured the Central Division title. Monroe averaged 4.4 assists and 2.6 rebounds. In the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Bullets defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 4-3, defeated the Knicks 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals to reach the 1971. NBA Finals. Monroe averaged 4.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds in the Philadelphia series. He averaged 24.4 points, 4.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds against the Knicks, including 26 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in the Game 7 93-91 Bullet victoryIn the 1971 NBA Finals, the Bullets were matched against the Milwaukee Bucks with Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and Bobby Dandridge.
The Bucks swept the Bullets 4-0. Monroe averaged 16.3 points, 4.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds in the series."Put a basketball in his hands and he does wondrous things with it," Bullets Coach Gene Shue said of Monroe. "He has the greatest combination of basketball ability and showmanship."After the 1
Cabrini–Green Homes, which comprised the Frances Cabrini Row-houses and William Green Homes, was a Chicago Housing Authority public housing project located on the Near North Side of Chicago, United States. They were bordered by the vertex of Clybourn Ave and Halsted Street on the north, North Larrabee Street on the west, Chicago Avenue on the south, Hudson Street on the east. Today, only the 586 original row houses, built in the 1940s, remain. At its peak, Cabrini–Green was home to 15,000 people, living in mid- and high-rise apartment buildings totaling 3,607 units. Over the years, gang violence and neglect created deplorable living conditions for the residents, "Cabrini–Green" became synonymous with the problems associated with public housing in the United States; the last of the buildings in Cabrini–Green were demolished in March 2011. The Near North Side site home to the William Green projects has been undergoing major redevelopment since the late 1990s, resulting in a combination of upscale high-rise buildings and row houses, with the stated goal of creating a mixed-income neighborhood, with some units still being reserved for public housing tenants.
Controversy regarding the implementation of such plans has arisen, though slated redevelopment plans are now set to move forward following the September 2015 settlement of a longstanding civil lawsuit. The construction reflected the "urban renewal" approach to United States city planning in the mid-20th century; the extension buildings were known as the "red" for their red brick exteriors, while the Green Homes, with reinforced concrete exteriors, were known as the "whites". Many of the high-rise buildings had exterior porches. According to the Chicago Housing Authority, the early residents of the Cabrini row houses were predominantly of Italian ancestry. By 1962, however, a majority of residents in the completed complex were black. 1850: Shanties were first built on low-lying land along Chicago River. The area acquires the "Little Hell" nickname due to a nearby gas refinery, which produced shooting pillars of flame and various noxious fumes. By the 20th century, it was known as "Little Sicily" due to large numbers of Sicilian immigrants.
1929: Harvey Zorbaugh writes "The Gold Coast and the Slum: A Sociological Study of Chicago's Near North Side", contrasting the varying social mores of the wealthy Gold Coast, the poor Little Sicily, the transitional area in between. Marshall Field Garden Apartments, first large-scale low-income housing development in area, completed. 1942: Frances Cabrini Homes, with 586 units in 54 buildings, completed. Initial regulations stipulate 25 % black residents. Holsman, Burmeister, et al. architects. 1957: Cabrini Homes Extension, with 1,925 units in 15 buildings, is completed. A. Epstein & Sons, architects. 1962: William Green Homes is completed. Pace Associates, architects. 1966: Gautreaux et al. vs. Chicago Housing Authority, a lawsuit alleging that Chicago's public housing program was conceived and executed in a racially discriminatory manner that perpetuated racial segregation within neighborhoods, is filed. CHA was found liable in 1969, a consent decree with HUD was entered in 1981. April 4–13, 1968: In the days following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. constant gunfire from snipers positioned on the upper floors of Cabrini–Green caused many casualties and much property damage.
The sniper activity would return periodically throughout the 1970s. July 17, 1970: Sergeant James Severin and Officer Tony Rizzato of the Chicago Police Department are fatally shot. February 8, 1974: Television sitcom Good Times, ostensibly set in the Cabrini–Green projects, featuring shots of the complex in the opening and closing credits, debuts on CBS, it would run for six seasons, until August 1, 1979. March 26 – April 19, 1981: Mayor Jane Byrne moves into Cabrini–Green to prove a point regarding Chicago's high crime rate. Considered a publicity stunt, she stays just three weeks. October 13, 1992: Dantrell Davis was fatally shot by a stray bullet while walking to school with his mother. 1992: Candyman is released, the story taking place at the housing project. 1994: Chicago receives one of the first HOPE VI grants to redevelop Cabrini–Green as a mixed-income neighborhood. September 27, 1995: Demolition begins. January 9, 1997: Nine-year-old "Girl X" found in a seventh-floor stairwell at 1121 N. Larrabee Street after being raped, choked, poisoned by having a can of insecticide sprayed down her throat, covered in gang symbols.
Her attacker stepped on her throat. She was left for dead; the attacker was identified as Patrick Sykes and was found with the assistance of community members and building gang members, all of whom were outraged by the attack. Sykes had a history of sexual crimes against women and girls, admitted he covered Currie with gang symbols in an attempt to confuse investigators. Currie was blinded and left with significant brain damage. 1997: Chicago unveils Near North Redevelopment Initiative, a master plan for development in the area
John Michael Turturro is an Italian-American character actor and filmmaker known for his roles in the films Do the Right Thing, Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, Quiz Show, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and four entries in the Transformers film series, most The Last Knight. He has appeared in over sixty films and has worked with the Coen brothers, Adam Sandler and Spike Lee. An Emmy Award winner, Turturro has been nominated for four Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. John Turturro was born in the son of Katherine Florence and Nicholas Turturro, his mother was born in the U. S. to Italian parents with roots in Sicily, was an amateur jazz singer, who had worked in a naval yard during World War II. His father had immigrated to the United States from Giovinazzo, Italy, at age six and worked as a carpenter and construction worker before joining the U. S. Navy during the war. Serving as a sailor, he was with the D-Day fleet supporting the landing operations of Allied troops in Normandy, France, in 1944.
Turturro was raised a Roman Catholic and moved to the Rosedale section of Queens, New York with his family, when he was six. He majored in Theatre Arts at the State University of New York at New Paltz, completed his MFA at the Yale School of Drama. Turturro's first film appearance was a non-speaking extra role in Martin Scorsese's critically acclaimed Raging Bull, he created the title role of John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea at the Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in 1983. He won an Obie Award. Turturro had a notable supporting role in William Friedkin's action film To Live and Die in L. A. as the henchman of the villainous counterfeiter played by Willem Dafoe. Spike Lee liked Turturro's performance in Five Corners so much that he cast him in Do the Right Thing; this movie was the first of a long-standing collaboration between the director and Turturro, which includes work together on a total of nine films—more than any other actor in the Lee oeuvre-- including Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Girl 6, He Got Game, Summer of Sam, She Hate Me, Miracle at St. Anna.
Turturro has appeared in both comedy and drama films, engaged in an extended collaboration with the Coen Brothers—he appeared in their films Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Turturro has appeared in several of Adam Sandler's movies, such as Mr. Deeds and You Don't Mess with the Zohan, he played a disturbed patient of Jack Nicholson's character in the comedy Anger Management and played Johnny Depp's character's antagonist in Secret Window. Turturro hosted Saturday Night Live in 1994, where he spoofed his then-recently made film, Quiz Show, being told he was ineligible to host unless he answered questions in a booth and if he failed, the honor of hosting would go to Joey Buttafuoco, backstage to witness Turturro's test, he won an Emmy award for his portrayal of Adrian Monk's brother Ambrose in the USA Network series Monk, reprised the role on numerous occasions. He has been nominated and won many awards from film organizations such as Screen Actors Guild, Cannes Film Festival, Golden Globes and others.
Turturro produced and directed, as well as acted in, the film Illuminata, which starred his wife, actress Katherine Borowitz. He directed the film Romance and Cigarettes. In 2006 he appeared in Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd, as the Sector 7 agent Seymour Simmons in four films of the Transformers live-action series. In 2010, he directed Passione, which chronicles the rich musical heritage of Italy, his stage directorial debut was in October 2011, with the Broadway play Relatively Speaking, in which he guided an ensemble of veteran actors in a production of three comedic one-act plays, written by Elaine May, Woody Allen and Ethan Coen. The cast included Marlo Thomas, Mark Linn-Baker and Steve Guttenberg. Turturro's fifth directorial film Fading Gigolo premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in mid-September 2013. Turturro acts in the film alongside Woody Allen, who played a novice pimp overseeing the sex work of Turturro's character. During a September 2013 interview, Turturro expressed his intention to draw parallels between sex work and acting, explaining that the latter is a "service business" in which actors are "acting out people's wishes or fantasies."
In March 2014, Turturro received the Career Achievement tribute and award at the 31st Edition of the Miami International Film Festival at the Olympia Theater in Downtown Miami. Turturro's brother is actor Nicholas Turturro. Artist Ralph Turturro and film director Richard Termini, actress Aida Turturro are his cousins, he has two sons: Diego, with his wife, actress Katherine Borowitz. John Turturro participates as a member of the Jury for the New York International Children's Film Festival, dedicated to screening films for children between the ages of 3 and 18. In January 2011, Turturro received his Italian passport, holds dual Italian and U. S. citizenship. He has lived in Park Slope since 1988. Cars 2: The Video Game, 2011, as Francesco Bernoulli World War Z, 2007, as Serosha Garcia Alvarez NBA on TNT, as Claude X John Turturro on IMDb John Turturro at the Internet Broadway Database John Turturro at Internet Off-Broadway Database John Turturro at AllMovie
John Wallace (basketball)
John Gilbert Wallace is a retired American professional basketball player. The 6'8 forward played seven seasons in the National Basketball Association, in addition to stints in Greece and Italy, he was selected with the 18th pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the New York Knicks. A 1992 graduate of Greece Athena High School in Rochester, New York, Wallace led Syracuse University to the NCAA championship game during his senior season in 1996, where they lost to the Kentucky Wildcats. After his college graduation, Wallace played seven seasons in the NBA, with the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat. John Wallace is an Executive Board Member of Heavenly Productions Foundation, a 501c-3 charity based in Armonk, New York whose mission is to help children in need and in distress, his son John Wallace Jr. went to Greece Athena and played basketball. List of NCAA Division I men's basketball players with 2000 points and 1000 rebounds NBA.com profile Stats at basketball-reference.com John Wallace on IMDb
Kobe Bean Bryant is an American former professional basketball player. He played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, he won five NBA championships. Bryant is an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive team, he led the NBA in scoring during two seasons and ranks third on the league's all-time regular season scoring and fourth on the all-time postseason scoring list. He is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Bryant is the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons. Bryant is the son of former NBA player Joe Bryant, he enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, where he was recognized as the top high school basketball player in the country. Upon graduation, he declared for the NBA draft and was selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft; the Hornets traded him to the Lakers.
As a rookie, Bryant earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest, he was named an All-Star by his second season. Despite a feud between the two players and Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002. In 2003, Bryant was accused of sexual assault, but the charges were dropped, a civil suit was settled out of court. After the Lakers lost the 2004 NBA Finals, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat and Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers, he led the NBA in scoring during the 2005 -- 2006 -- 07 seasons. In 2006, he scored a career-high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second most points scored in a single game in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962. Bryant was awarded the regular season's Most Valuable Player Award in 2008. After losing in the 2008 NBA Finals, he led the Lakers to two consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, earning the Finals MVP Award on both occasions.
He continued to be among the top players in the league through 2013 until he suffered a torn Achilles tendon at age 34. Although he recovered, his play was limited the following two years by season-ending injuries to his knee and shoulder, respectively. Citing his physical decline, he announced. At 34 years and 104 days of age, Bryant became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points, he became the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history on February 1, 2010, when he surpassed Jerry West. During his third year in the league, Bryant was chosen to start the All-Star Game, he would continue to be selected to start that game for a record 18 consecutive appearances until his retirement, his four All-Star MVP Awards are tied for the most in NBA history. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won gold medals as a member of the U. S. national team. In 2018, Bryant won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his film Dear Basketball. Bryant was born in 1978 in Philadelphia.
He is the maternal nephew of basketball player John "Chubby" Cox. His parents named him after the famous beef of Kobe, which they saw on a restaurant menu, his middle name, Bean, is derived from his father's nickname "Jellybean". Bryant was raised Roman Catholic; when Bryant was six, his father retired from the NBA and moved his family to Rieti in Italy to continue playing professional basketball at a lower level. Kobe learned to speak fluent Italian. During summers, he would come back to the United States to play in a basketball summer league. Bryant started playing basketball when he was 3 years old, the Lakers were his favorite team when he was growing up. Bryant's grandfather would mail him videos of NBA games. At an early age, he learned to play soccer and his favorite team was A. C. Milan; when Kobe's father Joe retired as a player in 1991, the family moved back to the United States. Bryant earned national recognition during a spectacular high school career at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, located in the Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion.
He played on the varsity basketball team as a freshman. He became the first freshman in decades to start for Lower Merion's varsity team, but the team finished with a 4–20 record; the following three years, the Aces compiled a 77–13 record, with Bryant playing all five positions. During his junior year, he averaged 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year, attracting attention from college recruiters in the process. Duke, North Carolina and Villanova were at the top of his list. At Adidas ABCD camp, Bryant earned the 1995 senior MVP award while playing alongside future NBA teammate Lamar Odom. While in high school 76ers coach John Lucas invited Bryant to work out and scrimmage with the team, where he played one-on-one with Jerry Stackhouse. In his senior year of high school, Bryant led the Aces to their first state championship in 53 years. During the run, he averaged 30.8 points, 12 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4 steals, 3.8 blocked shots in leading the Aces to a 31–3 record.
Bryant ended his high school career as Southeastern Pennsylvania's all-time leading scorer at 2,883 points, surpassing both Wilt Chamberlain and Lionel Simmons. Bryant received several awards for his outstanding performance during his senior year at Lower Merion; the awards included being na
Jesus referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity, is described as the most influential person in history. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. All modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed although the quest for the historical Jesus has produced little agreement on the historical reliability of the Gospels and on how the Jesus portrayed in the Bible reflects the historical Jesus. Jesus was a Galilean Jew, baptized by John the Baptist and began his own ministry, he preached orally and was referred to as "rabbi". Jesus debated with fellow Jews on how to best follow God, engaged in healings, taught in parables and gathered followers, he was arrested and tried by the Jewish authorities, turned over to the Roman government, crucified on the order of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect. After his death, his followers believed he rose from the dead, the community they formed became the early Church.
The birth of Jesus is celebrated annually on December 25th as Christmas. His crucifixion is honored on his resurrection on Easter; the used calendar era "AD", from the Latin anno Domini, the equivalent alternative "CE", are based on the approximate birthdate of Jesus. Christian doctrines include the beliefs that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of a virgin named Mary, performed miracles, founded the Christian Church, died by crucifixion as a sacrifice to achieve atonement for sin, rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, from where he will return. Most Christians believe; the Nicene Creed asserts that Jesus will judge the living and the dead either before or after their bodily resurrection, an event tied to the Second Coming of Jesus in Christian eschatology. The great majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, the second of three persons of the Trinity. A minority of Christian denominations reject Trinitarianism, wholly or as non-scriptural. Jesus figures in non-Christian religions and new religious movements.
In Islam, Jesus is considered one of the Messiah. Muslims believe Jesus was a bringer of scripture and was born of a virgin, but was not the son of God; the Quran states. Most Muslims do not believe that he was crucified, but that he was physically raised into Heaven by God. In contrast, Judaism rejects the belief that Jesus was the awaited Messiah, arguing that he did not fulfill Messianic prophecies, was neither divine nor resurrected. A typical Jew in Jesus' time had only one name, sometimes followed by the phrase "son of <father's name>", or the individual's hometown. Thus, in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth". Jesus' neighbors in Nazareth refer to him as "the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon", "the carpenter's son", or "Joseph's son". In John, the disciple Philip refers to him as "Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth"; the name Jesus is derived from the Latin Iesus, a transliteration of the Greek Ἰησοῦς. The Greek form is a rendering of the Hebrew ישוע, a variant of the earlier name יהושע, or in English, "Joshua", meaning "Yah saves".
This was the name of Moses' successor and of a Jewish high priest. The name Yeshua appears to have been in use in Judea at the time of the birth of Jesus; the 1st-century works of historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote in Koine Greek, the same language as that of the New Testament, refer to at least twenty different people with the name Jesus. The etymology of Jesus' name in the context of the New Testament is given as "Yahweh is salvation". Since early Christianity, Christians have referred to Jesus as "Jesus Christ"; the word Christ was a office, not a given name. It derives from the Greek Χριστός, a translation of the Hebrew mashiakh meaning "anointed", is transliterated into English as "Messiah". In biblical Judaism, sacred oil was used to anoint certain exceptionally holy people and objects as part of their religious investiture. Christians of the time designated Jesus as "the Christ" because they believed him to be the Messiah, whose arrival is prophesied in the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament.
In postbiblical usage, Christ became viewed as a name—one part of "Jesus Christ". The term "Christian" has been in use since the 1st century; the four canonical gospels are the foremost sources for the message of Jesus. However, other parts of the New Testament include references to key episodes in his life, such as the Last Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23. Acts of the Apostles refers to the early ministry of its anticipation by John the Baptist. Acts 1:1 -- 11 says more about the Ascension of Jesus. In the undisputed Pauline letters, which were written earlier than the gospels, the words or instructions of Jesus are cited several times; some early Christian groups had separate descriptions of the life and teachings of Jesus that are not included in the New Testament. These include the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel
Tracy Lamar McGrady Jr. is an American former professional basketball player, best known for his career in the National Basketball Association, where he played as both a shooting guard and small forward. McGrady was a seven-time NBA All-Star, seven-time All-NBA selection, two-time NBA scoring champion, one-time winner of the NBA Most Improved Player Award, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2017. McGrady entered the NBA straight out of high school and was selected as the ninth overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in the 1997 NBA draft. Beginning his career as a low-minute player, he improved his role with the team forming an exciting duo with his cousin Vince Carter. In 2000, he left the Raptors for the Orlando Magic, where he became one of the league's most prolific scorers and a candidate for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. In 2004, he was traded to the Houston Rockets, where he paired with center Yao Ming to help the Rockets become a perennial playoff team.
His final seasons in the NBA were plagued by injuries, he retired in 2013 following a brief stint with the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles of the Chinese Basketball Association and the San Antonio Spurs. Since retiring, McGrady has worked as a basketball analyst for ESPN. From April–July 2014, he realized his dream of playing professional baseball, pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. McGrady was born on May 1979, in Bartow, Florida, to Melanise Williford, his father was not a part of his everyday life, so Melanise raised McGrady with the help of her mother, Roberta, in Auburndale. As a youth, McGrady played high school basketball and baseball at Auburndale High School for three years before transferring to Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, North Carolina for his senior season. A unknown player coming out of Florida, he made a name for himself after a strong performance at the Adidas ABCD Camp, an experience that helped McGrady recognize his true talent.
He reflected, "Nobody had a clue who Tracy McGrady was. Sonny Vaccaro gave me that platform, I played against the best players in the world at that time. I left that camp the No. 1 player in the nation, 175 to No. 1." Behind his leadership, Mt. Zion emerged as the number two-ranked team in the country, McGrady was named a McDonald’s All-American, national Player of the Year by USA Today, North Carolina's Mr. Basketball by the Associated Press. McGrady considered playing college basketball at the University of Kentucky, but he decided to enter the NBA draft as he was a projected lottery pick. McGrady was selected as the ninth overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in the 1997 NBA draft. For most of the 1997–98 season, he received little playing time, averaging only 13 minutes per game under head coach Darrell Walker. McGrady has described his rookie year as "hell", feeling lonely in Toronto and sleeping for up to 20 hours a day. Late in the season, Walker resigned, McGrady began playing more under new coach Butch Carter, who agreed to increase McGrady's minutes on the condition that McGrady would improve his work ethic.
Before the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season, the Raptors drafted McGrady's distant cousin, Vince Carter. The two became inseparable, but Siamese twins is more like it." By the 1999–2000 season, the duo had developed a reputation for their athleticism, giving memorable performances at the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest. McGrady, now playing significant minutes, was a contender for the Sixth Man of the Year Award before being elevated to Toronto's starting backcourt in late March. Behind McGrady and Carter's play, the Raptors finished the season with a 45–37 record, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. McGrady's final averages were 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, a career-high 1.9 blocks per game. In the first round of the postseason, the Raptors were swept by the New York Knicks. Following Toronto's first-round exit, McGrady became a free agent, signing a six-year, $67.5 million contract with the Orlando Magic. He elected to join the Magic in part because he disliked his secondary role playing behind Vince Carter, in part so that he could return home to Florida, in part to play with their other newly acquired free agent, Grant Hill.
Hill would go on to play in only 47 games total throughout his tenure with the team, forcing McGrady into a more significant leadership and scoring role than anticipated. During the 2000–01 season, McGrady defied the expectations of many, emerging as one of the best players in the NBA, with Milwaukee Bucks General Manager Ernie Grunfeld going so far as to call him "one of the top five talents in the league". McGrady's play earned him his first All-Star Game appearance and, behind averages of 26.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists per game, he was selected to his first All-NBA Team, being named to the All-NBA Second Team. He was voted the league's Most Improved Player. With a 43–39 record, the Magic entered the playoffs as the East's seventh seed, drawing a matchup with the Bucks. In Game 3 of the series, McGrady notched 42 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists in a performance that Bill Simmons called McGrady's "superstar audition tape". Orlando was eliminated by Milwaukee in four games. For the 2001–02 season, McGrady averaged 25.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists per game, earning his second All-NBA Team selection, this time to the All-NBA First Team.
During that year's All-Star Game, he completed one of the most memorable highlights of his career, throwing the ball off the backboard to himself and completing an alley-oop in traffic. At season's end, the Magic were again ous