SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Amid the euphoria of being one of this year’s inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Tracy McGrady is thinking of the people of Houston as they recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
McGrady, who along with this year’s 11-person class received his burnt-orange Hall of Fame jacket Thursday, spent much of his media availability discussing his firsthand experience during the hurricane and detailed how he took in friends and family while riding out the storm in a nearby suburb.
“It’s been tough, honestly,” McGrady said. “I’m from Florida. We go through hurricanes all the time. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s one thing for people to see it on the news, but actually to be in it, it’s devastating.
Whether it was putting up triple-doubles, dropping 62 points or scoring 13 in 33 seconds, Tracy McGrady racked up his fair share of memorable performances in his Hall of Fame career.
“I have friends and family going through it. Like, what do you tell somebody that loses everything? And where do they go to? If it happens to me, I’m financially stable. If it happens to me, I can pick up where I started. These people, they don’t know what their next move is. That in itself is just heartbreaking.”
McGrady said he took his sister and some friends into his Sugar Land residence after the regions they reside in faced mandatory evacuations. McGrady, who underwent surgery on his left foot five weeks ago, remained at his home as Harvey ripped through the region.
He said he plans to address the devastation and the rebuilding effort ahead during his induction speech Friday night.
“Although this weekend is awesome — I’m humbled, I’m honored — what I left behind is way more important,” McGrady said. “Way more important.”
New Hall of Fame inductee Tracy McGrady discussed being in Houston as Harvey struck and what he has done to help others affected by the storm. David Dow/NBAE/Getty Images
McGrady said his home never lost power and sustained only minor leaks from the flooding. He said other friends weren’t as fortunate, with some homes in nearby developments leveled by flood waters.
Even just trying to fly into Springfield, Massachusetts, proved difficult for McGrady.
“I think about what I left. Even coming here last night, when I was on my way to the airport, the airport is like 20 minutes. Last night, a 20-minute ride took two hours because my normal route I couldn’t go because there’s still places that are 15 feet under water, you understand?” McGrady said.
“I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday, trying to get my doctor’s appointment for my foot because I had a cast on last night, I wanted to take my cast off because I had foot surgery. I actually ended up taking my cast off myself last night in my [hotel] room because I couldn’t get to my doctor. Every route I tried to take, the police officers with roadblocks, they’re all over the place. It would have taken me three hours to go around the whole scene.”
McGrady credited his wife, CleRenda, with coming up with an idea to host a Labor Day barbecue for those affected in Houston’s Third Ward. Some friends opened their church for the event, and in less than 24 hours, the event came together. More than 800 locals attended the event.
McGrady is imploring people to continue to donate in order to aid the daunting rebuilding efforts that lie ahead.
While meeting with reporters after Thursday’s jacket presentation, McGrady shared some lighter moments. He joked about showing his kids some video of his best games and trying to get them to understand that he not only played against some of the NBA’s best, such as Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal, but also held his own.
McGrady also threw some jabs at JR Smith in their ongoing debate after Smith took umbrage with McGrady’s assertion that “anybody can win a championship.” Repeatedly referring to Smith as “Earl” and questioning some of his infamous on-the-court antics, McGrady said Smith, “sounds dumb as hell,” and reaffirmed that players can earn a title without necessarily playing a major role in a championship.