What You DONT Know About The Kobe Bryant Tracy McGrady NBA Rivalry Ft Elbows Trash Talk
Kobe Bryant vs Tracy McGrady. An NBA Rivalry that includes Disneyland, Black Mamba’s Origin story, elbows, and Germany. Kobe and T-Mac have a long history. #NBA #Kobe Instagram- @MJ2K_ALLDAY
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The Kobe Bryant Tracy McGrady rivalry started back when they were teenagers. Remember, both Kobe and T-Mac went into the league straight outta high school and both were hotheads, Tracy more than Kobe. McGrady went from being a relatively unknown high school prospect in his junior year to dunking on LaMar Odom who was the best prospect at the time, wow. Those dunks got McGrady famous quickly and he declared for the draft saying that he would be gone by the 8th pick and that he wants to at least get playing time in the playoffs like “his boy” Kobe did. Because before T-Mac was drafted. He had talked to players like Jermaine O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to get a feel for how the NBA life would be. Kobe had entered the league the year before in 1996 and although he had an up and down rookie season, he still got minutes in the playoffs and so T-Mac had aspirations to do the same. Kobe had encouraged Tracy to keep pushing on the path he was on. So when T-Mac was drafted to the Raptors, Kobe and T-Mac apparently met in the offseason according to T-Mac and had a bit of interaction.
The 2002-2003 season had the more memorable matchups. The first matchup of the season in November was a one to remember. Both T-Mac and Kobe had 38 each and the Magic came up with the win. Both were making some tough shots and after the game Tracy was asked about the Kobe and T-Mac debate because yes at the time, that was a legitimate debate. Tracy declined to give an answer and said he was a team player not caught up in that, but he was through the moon and happy that that was his first victory over Kobe. Teammates recall that McGrady was super pumped about the win, more than normal. This was also the game T-Mac broke Kobe’s ankles and Kobe came down the other hand and dunked on the whole team while getting a technical. Straight savage. However, remember how I said Tracy was looking for any win, so he lead the league in scoring at 32 points per game, despite Kobe scoring 40 for 9 straight games. T-Mac said he wasn’t gonna let Kobe get the scoring title over him. In Kobe’s stretch, T-Mac averaged 37.4 points including a 52 point game and a 46 point triple double. He was not gonna let Kobe win and was always trying to one up him.
During this time, both Tracy and Kobe were signed with Adidas. Kobe swears T-Mac and Kobe played one on ones and he beat him 11-2 based off a tweet and Kobe said he beat him 11-3 in their recent interview. A further look into it and Adidas did run ABCD camps in Germany and while it’s not confirmed they were there together, T-Mac did go to Germany to launch his shoes, the T-Mac 3s and Kobe was also in Germany for a promotional tour. So Kobe would most definitely be working on his game in the offseason and if both of them are together, most likely a 1 v 1 would break out. And if Kobe did uhhh *ahem roast T-Mac, I don’t think McGrady would ever admit that.
Kobe was dealing with many off-court problems. For one, he was dealing with rape accusations, his wife Vanessa had just thrown out his clothes on the street and for the first time in his life, Kobe didn’t want to be on the court, even if it was against a guy like T-Mac who Kobe always wanted to face. Tracy couldn’t even recognize Kobe in the first half as Kobe only had 1 point and Tracy was cooking with 21. In the locker room at half time, everything was looking bad and Kobe just wanted to focus so he came up with the persona of the Black Mamba to be a menace on the court away from distractions so he could play the game he loves. In the second half, Kobe went on to score 37 points, hit the game tying shot in regular time and win in overtime. I made a video a while back going in more detail about this.
The rivalry of who was the better player had finished by the 2007-2008 season with their last great battle being in October 2007 when Kobe scored 45 and T-Mac dropped 30. Kobe was able to lead a team to a championship, was the better defender, the better leader, the more healthy counterpart. The rivalry wasn’t filled with animosity, it was more of friendly competition, but knowing Kobe, nothing was friendly. It recently came up again with Kobe and T-Mac’s interview which made me realize how influential each player was on the other.
Tracy has given Kobe all the praise, calling him the best player he has ever faced including Jordan and LeBron. T-Mac has said that Kobe got the best out of him. I just think you gotta see that this rivalry made the two better and at the same time, both looked up to each other. It was one of those rare instances where yeah there was a rivalry between the two, but it was a friendly one.