NBA fans know the level of prestige that comes with the name Tracy McGrady. He played for 15 seasons, averaging 19.6 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists across 938 regular-season games. Not only that, but McGrady was selected to play in seven All-Star games and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.
And, like other basketball stars such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, success in the NBA typically leads to collaborations and deals with big brands like Adidas and Nike. So, it wasn’t surprising when McGrady, aka T-Mac, collaborated with Adidas to make the famous line of T-Mac sneakers.
But, out of all of the sneakers in T-Mac’s line, which ones are the most popular? In this guide, you’ll learn about the history behind T-Mac and Adidas as well as some of the best Adidas T-Mac sneakers of all time.
Who is T-Mac?
You’ve already read some of T-Mac’s stats, but they don’t necessarily give the whole story behind the basketball star.
Tracy McGrady was born on May 24, 1979 in Bartow, Florida. Thanks to his immense success playing basketball in high school, McGrady was able to enter the NBA straight out of high school. At 6 feet 8 inches, T-Mac was the ideal height for his position which was small forward and shooting guard.
He’s also one of the only NBA players to play for the league directly from high school without playing in college. His performance in the Adidas ABCD Camp caught national attention from agents and generated a lot of buzz among NBA recruiters.
McGrady was even named high school Player of the Year by USA Today, another big accomplishment for an athlete early in his career.
T-Mac made his NBA debut with the Toronto Raptors in 1997. He was the ninth overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft. He had a somewhat slow start on the team as a low-minute player, meaning he didn’t get much playing time during games. But, he quickly earned the respect and trust of his fellow teammates and coaches and was able to improve his role with the team.
He even formed a dynamic duo with his cousin Vince Carter who was another successful NBA player with the Toronto Raptors. T-Mac eventually left the Raptors and joined the Orlando Magic in 2000. While playing for the Orlando Magic, T-Mac became one of the NBA’s highest scorers and even qualified for the NBA Most Valuable Player award.
The MVP award is an esteemed honor for any player to receive and T-Mac was still relatively early in his career, so this was a major accomplishment for him. Then, in 2004, T-Mac was traded to a different team again.
This time he played for the Houston Rockets which also proved to be another successful move in his NBA career. He paired up with center Yao Ming and the two helped the Rockets compete in the playoffs. McGrady stayed at the Rockets for 6 more years until 2010, when he went to play for the New York Knicks.
T-Mac wasn’t just known as a successful player in the United States. In 2003, he was invited to play for the United States Men’s National Basketball Team for the FIBA Americas Championship. The competition took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
T-Mac played great and led his team to a 98-69 win over Venezuela. The NBA star also competed in the Olympics in 2004. He was a crucial part of the team and helped them win over Puerto Rico with a final score of 87 to 71.
End of Career
After his stint with the New York Knicks, McGrady was traded a few more times and played for teams like the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, and San Antonio Spurs. T-Mac did experience a few injuries over the years, like problems with his back, before he officially retired in 2013.
However, when he announced his retirement from the NBA, he noted that he’s still open to competing overseas should the opportunity present itself.
The History Behind T-Mac and Adidas
T-Mac has often been compared to stars like Kobe Bryant who are also known for popular shoe lines and deals. So, it’s no surprise that the star teamed up with Adidas to create his line of successful shoes.
T-Mac’s history with Adidas starts with his performance in the ABCD camp when he was in high school. He played well enough to earn the attention of not only Adidas but NBA recruiters and agents. McGrady matched up against Lamar Odom during his time at the camp and was able to hold his own.
During his time at the camp, T-Mac formed a friendly relationship with Sonny Vaccaro, who’s known as the godfather of some of the biggest shoe deals in basketball. Although T-Mac was in talks with Nike at one point early in his career, once he was drafted to play for the Raptors, he signed a contract with Adidas.
Adidas gave McGrady a 6-year, $12 million deal when he was just 18 years old. A deal like this was unprecedented at the time and spoke to the type of player McGrady was at such a young age.
T-Mac began appearing in major advertisements and campaigns with Adidas due to his impressive NBA performance. He modeled and became the face of the Adidas EQT line. So, it didn’t take long before McGrady had his line made up of avant-garde signature shoes.
The TMAC line capitalized on Kobe Bryant’s massive success. Bryant had an entire collection of shoes that are still widely popular to this day. Adidas knew they could do the same thing with a star player like T-Mac.
McGrady’s line became known for its exceptional performance and affordability. McGrady’s later success with the Houston Rockets and international competition afforded the line new colorways and designs, all of which generated an enormous amount of revenue and sales for Adidas.
T-Mac’s shoes quickly became young athletes’ favorite pieces to add to their wardrobes.
5 Best Adidas T-Mac Sneakers of All Time
Now that you know some background on Tracy McGrady and how he formed his relationship with Adidas, it’s time to dig into some of the best Tracy McGrady shoes of all time. In no particular order, here are some of the most well-known and loved T-Mac sneakers:
1). Adidas T-Mac 1
The OG shoes to start it all, the Adidas T-Mac 1 took a classic design and paired it with several performance features to make an all-around great basketball shoe. Available in T-Mac’s signature colorway of royal blue, cloud white, and matte silver, the T-Mac 1’s have a sleek but still eye-catching look.
These shoes were released in 2002 when T-Mac was at the height of his career.
Tiny black stars are also printed on the royal blue side. These kicks are also made with recycled content and feature Adidas’s Adiprenne+ cushioning for comfort on and off the basketball court. Plus, the upper part of these shoes is designed to match iconic shoes T-Mac sported during games.
The T-Mac 1’s have a regular fit with lace closure and a synthetic upper. For optimal basketball performance, they come with a Supergrip rubber outsole which helps you grip the court. These OG shoes are also less than $150, making them as affordable as they are stylish.
2). Adidas T-Mac 2.0 Evo
Another fan favorite among the T-Mac sneaker line is the Adidas T-Mac 2 Evo’s. These sneakers are an iteration of the original T-Mac 1’s and feature the same royal blue and white colorway.
They have medium width and lace closures. One feature that makes these shoes different from the T-Mac 1’s is the sock-like fit. This makes these shoes a bit more comfortable for games and practice—they’re designed to feel like you’re slipping into a pair of comfortable socks.
Just like with hats or any other pieces of casual clothing, the way your shoes fit and feel is everything. That’s why the T-Mac 2.0 Evo’s are built with lightweight cushioning, which makes them extra bouncy and great for jumping. This gives the shoes a nice springy feel.
And, just like T-Mac’s signature shoes, the 2.0 Evo’s have extra grippy soles for more control and stability.
3). Adidas T-Mac 3 Restomod Shoes
The T-Mac 3 Restomods have a futuristic look and feel to their design with a modern take on T-Mac’s signature shoes. With a nearly all-black colorway, these sneakers are great for the basketball player who wants to make a statement. The black is set off slightly by purple and red tones for extra effect.
These shoes utilize Adidas’s bounce cushioning for better movement on and off the court. They also use a Torsion system that’s located between the heel and forefoot for added stability. The T-Mac 3 Restomod’s also have a leather upper which adds to the dynamic look of these shoes.
Just like with T-Mac’s other shoes, the Restomod’s have lace closure and a rubber outsole. One side of the sneaker features white stripes which are characteristic of the Adidas brand.
4). Adidas TS Lightspeed
A more fashionable take on T-Mac’s line, the Adidas TS Lightspeeds is a true prize in the sneaker world. No longer available on the Adidas site, the Lightspeeds are a treasure that many basketball players and fans would love to get their hands on.
The design of these shoes looks completely different than T-Mac’s previous models. These sneakers are shorter with a more robust look to them. They come in black and red and feature T-Mac’s nickname on the side of the sneaker.
The bottom half of these shoes feature grippy rubber for better stability on the court and a leather upper for added durability. Adidas’s signature stripes are featured on the other side of the shoe in silver.
The TS Lightspeeds are a true relic as far as basketball shoes go and they sell for a lot of money nowadays. If you’re a T-Mac fan or just someone who enjoys collecting shoes, chances are you’re familiar with this iconic pair and the legacy it holds.
5). Adidas T-Mac 4
Another pair that are no longer sold on the Adidas site but still carries a lot of prestige is the T-Mac 4’s. Released in 2004, these shoes resemble the TS Lightspeeds most closely with their shorter, more stout appearance. This design provides a bit more ankle support, which is helpful when you’re playing for hours at a time.
Available in a white and black colorway as well as a white-red colorway, the T-Mac 4’s differ from the rest of the shoes on this list thanks to one key feature. Instead of the usual lace closure, these shoes have a velcro closure for added security.
This sort of velcro design pays homage to the original basketball shoe designs of the late 1990s and early 2000s. And, just like with T-Mac’s other shoes, these sneakers have grippy outsoles for better stability on the court. They also have a leather upper, which is a common feature among basketball shoes.
The T-Mac 4’s are considered vintage shoes by all means, so good luck getting your hands on these.
Learn More About Fashion and Lifestyle
Hopefully, by now you have a good understanding of how T-Mac got his start in basketball and why he has one of the most respected names in the sport. Remember that many shoes were released in the Adidas T-Mac line, so this list isn’t exhaustive but rather some of the most popular shoes from his collection.
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