NBA fans are officially the worst sports fans on the planet in any sport. I read today that Tracy McGrady is on pace to be one of the starting guards for the Western Conference. Who in the blue hell is voting for this year's all-star game? Did they just trash pick old ballots from 2005? This is unbefuckingleivable.
Before I continue, I will admit that I understand that this happens in the NBA frequently. I recall after Grant Hill missed countless seasons with his ankle injury, that fans were still dumb enough to vote him into all-star games. Even guys like Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady managed to get voted in despite being undeserving of their spots. Once again, I would argue that it was deserved because of their immense popularity.
But this season is just off the charts. I know that Allen Iverson is the second leading vote getter at the guard position in the Eastern Conference. This is understandable to a point, considering that none of the other guards aside from Dwyane Wade are really that popular. Lets face it, when's the last time you saw Rajon Rondo or Joe Johnson in a Nike commercial, or on a top ten plays of the night list?
Tracy McGrady takes this to an entirely new level though. I honestly don't see how fans still like this guy. He barely plays anymore, which would lead me to assume that fans would forget about him. Furthermore, there are actual marketable guards in the Western Conference, notably Chris Paul, Brandon Roy, and Steve Nash. Seriously, Steve Nash wins back-to-back MVP's and ran the most exciting team in the league for four seasons and still does not get votes? And Chris Paul is one of the most popular players in the NBA, and will need the coach's support to get in? What a load of crap.
This also would not piss me off so much had Tracy McGrady had a relevant season since 2003. I'll give credit where credit is due, Tracy McGrady has a marvelous season in 2003, dropping 32-6-5 while shooting 45% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc. Also worth mentioning is that he peaked at a time where the competition and talent pool was diluted beyond belief (more on this late). Even then, his stats steadily declined, and his shooting percentages plummeted.
Here's a look at how McGrady played in 2003 and beyond. I will include points-rebounds-assists, shooting percentages, games played, and playoff success. Hell, I will even round his numbers up beyond .5's:
2003: 32-7-6 on 46% and 39% shooting in 75 games. Lost in first round of the playoffs.
2004: 28-6-6 on 41% 34% shooting in 67 games. Missed the playoffs*
2005: 26-5-6 on 43% and 33% shooting in 78 games. Lost in first round of the playoffs.
2006: 24-6-7 on 40% and 31% shooting in 47 games. Lost in first round of the playoffs.
2007: 25-6-7 on 43% and 33% shooting 71 games. Lost in first round of the playoffs.
2008: 22-4-5 on 42% and 29% shooting in 66 games. Lost in first round of the playoffs.
2009: 16-4-4 on 39% and 38% shooting 35 games. The Rockets made the second round and pushed the eventual champion Lakers while McGrady was on the bench healing from a mid-season surgery.
* The Magic were so bad during 2004 that McGrady demanded a trade during the offseason. Meanwhile, they lucked out and won the lottery, drafting Dwight Howard. I know it can be frustrating to be on a losing team, but come on, if your team wins the first overall pick and drafts Dwight fucking Howard, wouldn't be a good idea to stay and wait it out? I know that going to play with Yao Ming can be tempting, but that guy had his fair share of injury problems too. Also worth noting is that Orlando started to come around in 2007, with Dwight Howard coming into his own and Grant Hill having a comeback season. Result? Swept by Detroit in the first round during a season when the Eastern Conference was uber-weak. Imagine if McGrady was on that team. They would have been a three seed and possibly made it to the NBA Finals, and built a franchise around Howard, McGrady, and Jameer Nelson. Either way, either McGrady reevaluates his career and becomes more of a hero in Orlando, or keeps declining and does not get voted into the All-Star game because he is in the East with Wade and Iverson. Win-win. Tangent over.
His declining stats do not take into account that he was a total chump. As mentioned in the asterisk, T-Mac is a guy that bitches and moans when he does not get what he wants. He left his cousin, Vince Carter, high to dry in Toronto. Then he told Orlando that he wanted a trade, and got one. Now he's in Houston complaining about playing time. Once again, how the fuck does anybody still like this guy? He has essentially urinated on three different fan bases. It also goes to show how much his team appreciates him, the fact that Houston has targeted other wings to compliment McGrady (Ron Artest and Trevor Ariza) over the last two season. I would also like to address a quote from my favorite writer, Bill Simmons**, about why McGrady is a total asshole:
"And by the way, nobody loves basketball more than me. I mean, NOBODY. But when an NBA player with two years remaining on his contract for a total of $44 million shows up for the season out of shape, complains most of the year, lets down his teammates and fans again and again, lands in some trade rumors and decides, "Instead of getting traded to a team I don't like, I'm going to announce that I'm getting microfracture surgery four days before the trade deadline and kill any potential trade, and even better, I'll be healed by next spring, just in time to showcase myself for another contract," and successfully pulls this off -- with no repercussions from anybody -- then yes, the system is broken and needs to be fixed. Because that was disgusting. Tracy McGrady, you are officially indefensible for the rest of eternity. Even your cousin Vince wouldn't have done that. And that's saying something."
** Bill Simmons has a book out called the "Book of Basketball". It kicks ass. I recommend it to anyone who is not illiterate.
I mentioned prior that McGrady was a little over rated because he overachieved and peaked in a time where the talent pool was diluted. And it was.
There are always superstars in the NBA. There are a collective group of stars, they get old, and another collective group of stars take over until the new batch of stars come in and make their mark. However, there was a huge gap between the 90's stars (Jordan, Pippen, Olajuwon, Barkley, Malone, Stockton, Payton, Miller, Robinson, and Ewing) and the post millennium stars (Lebron, Wade, Paul, Howard, Deron Williams, Chris Bosh, Dirk, Anthony, Pierce, and Roy). The problem was that the stars that were supposed to bridge the gap (Grant Hill, Penny Hardaway, Alanzo Mourning, Shawn Kemp, Jamal Mashburn, Alan Houstonm and somewhat Chris Webber) were all plagued by injuries. Also worth noting is that guys like Dirk Nowinski, Chauncey Billups, Jermaine O'Neal and Steve Nash took longer than expected to make an impact on the league. Thus the league had to be carried by only five worthy superstars from 1999-2003: Tim Duncan, Shaq, Kobe, Jason Kidd, and Kevin Garnett.
The result? We got a whole slew of players exchanging spots in the top ten when they would barely crack the top 20 in any other period. Don't believe me? Remember when Keith Van Horn was gracing video game covers? Remember playing NBA Street on Playstation 2, which was based on the 2001 season, and Steve Francis being one of the best players in the entire game?
When Keith Van Horn is gracing the cover of anything that represents your league, you have a problem.
Speaking of the 2001 season, that was the peak of the dead era between 1999-2003 (Note: I would extend it to 2004, but the Detroit Pistons won the title that year. I know I'm biased. Deal with it). 2001 was probably the worst NBA season since 1980 (when basketball started to matter). First of all, there was only one legitimate contender that season, the Los Angeles Lakers, and one sleeper, which was the Spurs. Jerry Stackhouse almost lead the league in scoring with 29 points per game, and then could not start on a title contender just four seasons later. The Eastern Conference semi-finals consisted of the Sixers, Raptors, Hornets, and Bucks. What have those teams accomplished since? They have two playoff victories between the four of them (Sixers in 2003, Hornets in 2008), a relocated franchise, and 16 lottery picks. Why am I bringing all of this up? I needed to illustrate how consistently horrendous each organization is, and that only a massive talent and power vacuum could allow for those teams to all rise to the top. Also during the 2001 season, we had the luxury of watching exciting rookies like Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift, and Darius Miles develop.
So basically what happened during 1999-2003, is the NBA had a huge vacuum of talent to fill considering that there were only 5-7 quality players. Thus, guys like Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Steve Francis, Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, Peja Stojacvicivicvic, Stephon Marbury, Jerry Stackhouse, Elton Brand, Andre Miller, and Brad Miller occasionally taking turns cracking the top 15. In turn, every NBA fan tricked themselves into believing that these guys were actual super stars, so when we look at them today, for some fucking season, we still want to believe that they are, when they're not. Then the likes of Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Paul, Anthony, Roy, and Howard came in the league to put this travesty to an end. In reality, despite the fact that guys like Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady were at one point arguably top ten players, they really are on par with guys like Joe Johnson and Jason Richardson.
There you have it. I hate officially hate NBA fans almost as much as I hate Tracy McGrady for voting his over rated, overpaid, washed up ass into the All-Star game. I know that there is still time for fans to get their shit straight, considering that the All-Star game is still six weeks away. Regardless, this shouldn't even be close, considering that there are a slew of more talented guards, and even as marketable guards like Chris Paul, Steve Nash, and Brandon Roy.