|Tracy McGrady (File Photo)|
It's official. Tracy McGrady has retired from the National Basketball Association (NBA).
McGrady, 34, announced his retirement from the league on ESPN's First Take Monday morning, saying he is completely content.
"I'm happy, happy that it is over," he said. "It's been 16 years playing the game I love. I think I've had a great run and it's come to an end. I'm excited. I'm happy about what's next to come."
The injury-plagued star admitted he was tired of not being able to have an impact on the court during the last three years as he used to, an experience that has rendered him "mentally ejected" from the game.
Drafted as the 9th pick by the Toronto Raptors in 1997, McGrady grew to one of the best offensive players in the game as his two scoring titles and seven All-Star selections speak for themselves. He teamed up with Yao Ming on the Houston Rockets from 2004 to 2010 and became a cult figure especially among Chinese basketball fans.
The admiration is mutual. McGrady landed in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) during the 2012-13 season. After a stint with the San Antonio Spurs who lost 4-3 to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, this summer he came to China again to play in a series of exhibition matches.
On Monday's sports talk program, he did not even rule out the possibility of wearing a Chinese jersey again in the future.
"Officially retired from the NBA. Door's still open," he reiterated when asked about if he plans to play in China again.
McGrady's retirement announcement came late Monday in China, but still aroused strong reverberations among his fans who lamented his NBA departure.
A message about T-Mac's retirement on NBA's Weibo account, issued at 10:56 pm, was forwarded more than 15,000 times within 11 hours.
Numerous Internet bloggers posted photos and videos of their idol, culminated by his classic one-man show from December 9, 2004 where he reeled off 13 straight points to help the Rockets rally past the Spurs in the last 35 seconds in a game that is considered to be one of the greatest comebacks in the history on the sport.
"My youth ends as McGrady retires," said Mianyangyifu, a Weibo user.