These days, Tracy McGrady enjoys his basketball from the sidelines. The NBA legend, now in his 40s, is leaving the highlight reel jams to a new generation of high-flying one-on-ones competing in his groundbreaking basketball startup, the Ones Basketball League.
Aside from the occasional informal shootout with his sons and their AAU teams, T-Mac says he rarely picks up a basketball. But given his still slim 6'8" frame, the seven-time NBA All-Star still exudes the spirit of being unstoppable anywhere on the court in a one-on-one match. And to some extent, McGrady agrees with that assessment.
"Obviously I'm not as quick and fast as I was," says McGrady. "I can't blow past you or rise above you anymore, but I can still create space and take my shot and there's nothing you can do about it."
He's not bragging, even though it's been more than a decade since the end of his injury-plagued NBA career. McGrady says he's as fit today as he was when he won back-to-back NBA titles in 2003 and 2004.
He attributes his physical resurgence to a unique workout routine: burpees, that universally dreaded conditioning exercise where you go from standing to squatting, kick your legs back onto a plank, and then come back to a standing position. He does that again and again. But the results speak for themselves as he stays close to his NBA weight.
"After I retired, I just tried different workouts to see what made me want to actually go to the gym and work out," he says. "w I've found something I really love. It was challenging at first but I love it because it keeps me slim. And I love how my body feels.”
McGrady isn't working on a comeback, instead he's quite enthusiastic in his role as the creator of the OBL, which culminated in a successful inaugural season this Friday and Saturday, July 15 and 16, with the $250,000 league grand prize at the OBL Finals in Henderson, NV. McGrady's vision of an elite one-on-one league was quickly bolstered by a television deal with Showtime Networks.
"There's a lot of untapped talent out here," says McGrady. "And as a basketball fan and non-basketball fan, I was able to find this talent to put platform on platform on platform where we're actually having a conversation when we're looking at that."
Courtesy of OBL
What it takes to rule the OBL court
According to him, if Tracy McGrady were running, the scouting report would go something like this: "Today, anyone can lock me up," McGrady says, "but for the best T-Mac, the report would probably say it's best." to make me Go right. As right-handers, most of us like to ride left because we're much stronger and more comfortable. We're more comfortable going to the left for dribble pull-ups or finishing with the left hand... I got so strong going to the left that I wasn't as good on the right. That would be my scouting report, I could admit that now.” [laughs]
In the OBL, seven points wins a game, and McGrady says it's for a reason: Entertainment Value "When you play to 11 or 15, it's not a product you want to look at, especially one-on-one. It's getting sloppy. Players tire and settle for jumping shots. And that's not going to look good."
What does it take to win the OBL Grand Prize? According to Tracy McGrady, the Toronto Raptors' ninth overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft, the athlete must be "wired a little differently." You're on your own, no teammates to back you up, so you must be rounder than you think. You'll need a list of skills, from shooting ability, ball handling and footwork to game defense.
The prototypical player, he says, would resemble NBA all-star Kyrie Irving. "Everyone knows that," he says. "If you look at the NBA, you know Kyrie is a problem - in one-on-ones his skills are second to none."
For the love of burpees
wadays, Tracy McGrady says he carries about 238 pounds these days, about eight pounds more than when he was playing in the NBA. He doesn't follow a strict diet and has occasional back-to-back burger or pizza days. At his Houston home, McGrady has a fully equipped gym that comes with a full-size basketball court. He uses neither, instead allowing his children's AAU teams to use the space.
He attributes his post-basketball physical transformation solely to burpees. That's all he does, and while he admits the unique workout routine may not be for everyone, 15 to 20 minutes a day is all it takes for him to maintain the weight. Best of all, his minimal training regimen has not only helped keep him in solid form, but has also helped heal some of the injuries that have plagued him throughout his career.
"I found that it actually helped strengthen my back," says McGrady. "You know, I've had back pain my entire career and I had surgery right after I retired. I still had some persistent pain, but I've always noticed that my back is stronger. I don't have this pain with certain movements. My legs have gotten stronger.
He's tried different splits, four sets a minute each is a routine that he says he can do anywhere from 15 to 18 reps a minute. Another time, he performs the burpee ladder style, starting with 10 burpees, then nine, up to one and back to 10. Some of the AAU dads are starting to notice his burpee workouts, most even refusing to do the Participate in workouts with an NBA legend.
"Some of them see me doing burpees and they're like, 'I hate doing these bro,'" he says. "Well, I hated her too. But I got to the point where I loved how they made me feel and how I looked in the mirror. I love what I see.”
his advice. Try it: “It's a mental thing. If you could get over your hatred of them and just give it a try and see what results you can get. Mentally it can change your mind and you will fall in love with her.”
Another T-Mac tip: start slow and build up consistently. “Start with a set of five burpees and then probably do four or five sets or something just to see how you feel. And then just gradually increase it until you do 10 burpees. It's progression to get to the point where you really love making them.”
Courtesy of OBL
Tracy McGrady and a league for the newest generation
Tracy McGrady calls the OBL's inaugural season a huge success. His vision evolved from the endless barbershop and barroom battles over who is the best. Would it be Jordan? Kobe? KD? lebron? Even McGrady's name pops up in conversation like never before. The idea finally materialized when the league started in February and is now ending with the finals this weekend.
Another inspiration for the league was the lack of interest his sons Layden and Laymen found in watching full 48 minutes of NBA games. As a father, McGrady understands this, even if his children may yawn at some of his most memorable performances, such as 33 seconds. And he's okay with that.
"I worked at ESPN for four and a half years, and part of the job was going to the NBA Finals," he says. "That's when Steph Curry and LeBron James and Klay Thompson tackled it. My sons love basketball, but they never asked me to go to the finals with me. They haven't missed a game since the OBL came into existence."
McGrady says the OBL model of fast-paced, non-stop action pushes games forward quickly. and keep the excitement at a maximum.
"It's just short content these days," says McGrady. "So I understand they don't have the tolerance to sit down for two and a half hours to see it live. I get that. It's just a different day and age, just like when I played in the NBA, it's not the same as it is now. things have changed. It's about figuring out what works for younger kids, what appeals to them.”
McGrady is now bragging about the bright future he expects for the OBL in Year 2 and beyond. He expects the league to expand in the near future, hopefully at international level and beyond.
"We're going to make history -- the OBL will be here for a long time," says McGrady. It will be a staple in sports. And for five years I've been looking for OBL to run on a global scale. Hopefully one day we can host the OBL Olympiad.”