Wednesday, February 05, 2014
HOUSTON -- Tracy McGrady wants to follow Michael Jordan's path to the national pastime.
The retired seven-time NBA All-Star is aiming to become a baseball player, and plans to try pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. That's the same team that Roger Clemens pitched for a couple of years ago.
Jordan famously played in the Chicago White Sox organization in 1994 during his first retirement from basketball, reaching the Double-A level.
"Just having a tryout for a minor league team is more fulfilling than anything I can imagine as far as baseball," McGrady told ESPN.com by phone Tuesday. "I'm just going to train as hard as I can and pursue my dream. Where this takes me, I don't know.
"I'm doing this for the love of the game. I've made money. The Atlantic League doesn't have salaries like the major leagues. So this is a kid who's trying to fulfill his dream. This isn't a gimmick. I've played baseball. I know the game of baseball. And I'm going after what I've always wanted to do."
A statement from the Skeeters says that it is a "lifelong dream" of McGrady's to play baseball.
"McGrady has demonstrated skill, determination and diligence during his training program," the statement said. "We look forward to monitoring his progress."
The 34-year-old McGrady played for several teams, including the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. He last played in the NBA in the 2012-13 season.
The Skeeters last made national headlines when Clemens pitched two games for them in 2012 at age 50.
McGrady made seven consecutive All-Star Games from 2001-07. The 6-foot-8 McGrady, natural right-hander, was drafted out of high school with the ninth overall pick in 1997 by the Toronto Raptors. He spent his first three seasons with the Raptors before becoming a star with the Magic. He spent four years with the Magic and led the NBA scoring in both the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.
He then joined the Rockets where he teamed with Yao Ming to help Houston to three playoff appearances.
McGrady played for the Knicks, Detroit and Atlanta after a six-year stint with the Rockets and was on the Spurs' postseason roster last season. He retired with more than 18,000 points and more than 5,000 rebounds in his career.
Copyright : espn.go.com