Tracy McGrady: What Could Have Been

Tracy McGrady: What Could Have Been

Explore the infamous and tragic career of basketball superstar Tracy McGrady.
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Throughout the last 50 years, there have been 3,071 players to play the game of basketball in the NBA. 1 of those players will forever live in a special form of infamy, and his name is Tracy McGrady. McGrady played for 7 teams over the span of his 16-year career. Most notably, he played for the Houston Rockets, where he emerged as a high-flying, bonafide superstar. But just as a shooting star appears in the night sky and then vanishes, so did the legacy of Mr. McGrady.

First and foremost, the reason why the name "Tracy McGrady" is not among the most popular basketball names in history is because of his lack of NBA championships. Not only does his lack of rings tarnish what would've been a monumental career, but his respective team never made it out of the first round of the playoffs. Not one time. In 2013, his last season with the San Antonio Spurs, he made it to the NBA championship and lost to the Heat; however, this is not counted because McGrady was hanging on by a thread and was way past his days of production. Sure, he experienced some awful luck and natural aging injuries, but it wasn't good enough. No rings in the realm of superstar greats = nothing to show for it.

Let's put this into context. Among the list of Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and himself, McGrady ranks second-best in rebounds per game at 6.32. He also ranks fourth in assists at 5.47, and third in points at 27.9. For anyone who knows basketball, he's in pretty good company. These stats are unreal, Hall-of-Fame unreal. Too bad McGrady was never surrounded by players with these reputations. In a bout of horrendous luck, he was traded from the Raptors to the Orlando Magic right before the prime of his career, where he could have teamed up with all-around superstar Vince Carter for years. Then, he was traded from the Magic to the Houston Rockets right before the Magic acquired powerhouse Dwight Howard. Carter and Howard are known as two of the most dominant players in their time. In McGrady's 16 years of chasing a championship, he played with minimal stars and sub-par talent. In the more modern era, we see superstars teaming up to form super-teams, such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, etc. Because they know that support wins championships, and that was simply not the structure of McGrady's time.

Once asked about the toughest matchup he's ever faced on the court, eventual hall-of-famer Kobe Bryant said, "Tracy McGrady, he has all the skills, all the athleticism...". If you're receiving praise like that from a man of that stature, you must be doing something right. He had the raw skills. He had the athleticism and figure. He had the stats. He had the swagger. He had all of the intangibles it takes to lead a franchise into the promised land. He had the game of basketball in the palm of his hand.

And just like that, it was dust in the wind.

Cover Image Credit: SB Nation Radio

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An Open Letter To Every Girl With A Big Heart, Except When It Comes To Herself

Because it's so much easier to love everyone around you before yourself.
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They say the key is that you have to "love yourself before you can love anyone else," or before "anyone can love you."

For those who deal with mass amounts of anxiety, or have many insecurities, that can be an extremely hard task. It seems much easier to tell your friend who is doubting herself that she looks great in that top than to look in the mirror and feel the same about yourself. It is much easier to tell your significant other that everything is going to be OK than to believe it will be when something goes wrong in your life. It becomes easier to create excuses for the ones around you than for yourself, and this is because you have such a big heart. You want those that you love to be happy and worry-free, yet you spend nights thinking about everything you have on your plate, about what you did wrong that day, fearing if someone in your life is mad at you, believing that you will never be good enough yet convincing everyone else that they are.

You are the girl with the biggest heart, yet you can't love yourself the way you care for everyone else in your life. There are many reasons that you should love yourself, though, and that's something that everyone around you is willing to tell you.

You're thoughtful.

Before doing anything, you always consider how it is going to affect those around you. You don't want to do anything that could hurt someone, or something that could make someone mad at you. It does not take much to make you happy, just seeing others happy does the job, and it is that simple. Because of this, you remember the little things. Meaningful dates, small details, and asking someone how their day was is important to you, and it makes those around you feel important too. You simply just want the people that you care about to be happy, and that is an amazing trait.

You're appreciative.

You don't need a big, fancy, and expensive date night to make you happy. Whether it's a picnic on the beach or a night in watching a movie, you're happy to just be with the person that you love. You appreciate every "good morning" text, and it truly does mean something when someone asks how you are. You tend to appreciate the person that you're with more than the things that they provide and for that, your sincerity will never go unnoticed.

You have a lot of love in your heart.

Every "I love you" has meant something, just as you remember the smallest moments that have meant the most to you. You remember the look in your significant other's eyes when they told you that for the first time. You remember the smile on your best friend's face when you told them that everything was going to be OK and that you would always be there. You remember the swell of happiness your parents felt when you decided to surprise them with a trip home one day, and you thrive off of all of that love.

You don't give up on the people you love, even if they have given you a reason to.

It is a foreign idea to just drop someone from your life, even if they betrayed you. You try to look at their mistake from every stance, not wanting to provide an excuse for them, but to give them another chance. Not everyone deserves it, and that is something that you learn along the way, but you feel good in the sense that you gave them a chance even if no one else would.

It's OK to not love yourself all the time. It's normal, and natural to stand in the mirror and think about everything wrong. And it's OK to love other people, even when you can't feel the same about yourself. But your big heart is why you should love yourself. There are so many reasons that you are a beautiful person, and the people that you spend all your time caring about feel that you have so much more to offer the world, and yourself.

So, next time you think about what you don't like about yourself, remember what makes you special –– the size of your heart and all of the love in it, and then share that love with yourself.

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The Stress Of Searching For The Perfect Internship, As Told By College Students

College students need to start getting professional experience sooner or later, why not now?

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One of the most stressful questions to ask a college student is "What are you doing this summer?" The search for a summer internship is relentless, even if you start the process earlier than others. But it is not the reality of having a summer internship that stresses college students so much, but rather the unrealistic expectations associated with such internship and other professional opportunities.

For example, as an undergraduate student interested in law, most law firms do not usually offer many internship positions for undergraduate students, especially if you are entering your sophomore or junior year. Additionally, most internships require multiple years of experience in that specific career field in order to qualify for an interview. Yet, how can years of previous experience be automatically expected when most undergraduate students are unsure of what career path they want to pursue? Some undergraduate students do not even have a specific major let alone a binding career plan for themselves.

When companies tirelessly demand these unrealistic expectations of undergraduate students, specifically underclassmen, their list of requirements worsen the concerning levels of stress and anxiety amongst college students. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, 61% of college students who seek counseling services report being affected by anxiety, 49% to depression, and 45% to stress. Because stress and anxiety levels for college students are increasing at unprecedented rates, the pressures and frustration of landing the perfect summer internship only negatively contribute to these statistics.

As a result, any company, corporation, firm, etc. offering internship positions to college students need to acknowledge the effects of their job descriptions and guidelines on an undergraduate student's mental stability. Furthermore, companies must improve their standards for internship positions in order to grant undergraduate students first-hand experience that will gradually expand their knowledge of the career field of their choice. Officials responsible for reading and reviewing internship applications should considerably and realistically review the applications of undergraduate college students. These students have to gain professional experience in their career field sooner or later, so why not now?

Additionally, the frantic search for a summer internship perpetuates false expectations for an undergraduate's resume. Nowadays, college students are expected to be over-involved in various organizations. These extracurriculars, whether they be leadership positions, work-study options, or internships all contribute towards the image of the "perfect resume". This picture-perfect resume perpetuates the unrealistic expectations for undergraduate students, emphasizing their already high levels of stress and anxiety.

Realistically, a freshman or sophomore in college lacks years of experience working in their career field, but these students should not feel stressed or anxious about the lack of experience represented on their resume. There is a way to promote healthy competition as long as that competition is realistic. Underclassmen should not feel stress because they do not have the same resume as upperclassmen.

In moments of stress, college students need to realize what expectations are within their reach. Having multiple years of experience in their career fields by their sophomore year of college is extremely unlikely for underclassmen. However, students are not wholly responsible for recognizing this during their internship and job search. Companies, corporations, and hiring officials should be responsible for addressing realistic expectations for internship candidates. This recognition will address rising levels of stress and aniety amongst college students, spreading awareness about growing mental stability concerns.

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