As most of you know, Tracy McGrady left the Toronto Raptors in 2000, to sign a six-year, $67.5 million contract with the Orlando Magic. McGrady was tired of being the number two in Toronto behind his cousin Vince Carter. On top of that he wanted to play with his great friend Grant Hill, which never really worked out well due to Hill’s injuries.
Max contracts weren’t AS crazy back then as they are now, you know, $250 million for each guy, but there was still a lot of money being made. NBA players still made a lot of money and lived lives that many of us will never know about. It’s always been insane.
While being a guest on the Bill Simmons Podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst told the most amazing story about how Pat Riley and Alonzo Mourning offered McGrady a max contract (in the podcast, at the 46 minute mark):
“They bring him down on a private jet and they bring him to Alonzo Mourning‘s house on the same day. And they have drinks and they hang out and you know Zo was, like, one of the coolest guys in the league. He still is one of the coolest guys in the league. They’re chilling at Zo’s house and all of a sudden, this speedboat pulls up. And Zo says, ‘Hey Tracy, let’s go for a ride.’ They get into the speedboat. They hit go and the speedboat goes 80 miles an hour across Biscayne Bay, zapping by the arena, downtown Miami, beautiful. It pulls in to Pat Riley‘s house down the cove. And Riley’s standing there holding the max contract offer.”
Well damn… I am not sure how I could say no to something like that… I would have signed those papers on the spot no matter what, especially in Miami. Wow.