Box And One: T-Mac Is Ready To Blast Off

By Wesley Chism Jr.
Updated: October 23, 2007

SEATTLE — The last time that I saw Tracy McGrady it was during a press conference after a season-ending lost in which he seemed to break down. I asked him about that the other day and you could tell that it was still fresh on his mind.

“You never want to end a season that way; we worked so hard to be in that position and had every opportunity to win but we let things slip away,” he said. “It takes a lot a lot out of you on so many levels dealing with that type of defeat.”

“You begin to question yourself and start second guessing every decision.What you saw during that interview was an exhausted man, physically and mentally. Momma told me that there would be days like this.”

“I remember the obstacle that Michael Jordan had to go through getting past the Detroit Pistons and that wasn’t an easy trick. People often just see the glory and have no idea to the pain and sacrifice that comes with holding up a NBA Championship trophy.”

T-Mac is back and he looks good. “Look man, I want to do better than what our team did last year and yes it was a let down,” McGrady added. “Whatever I have to do to bring a championship back to Houston, that’s what I’m committed to doing.”

Well as they say, the proof is in the pudding. T-Mac has lost about 28 pounds and changed his eating habits drastically and states that, “the results have been amazing.” He’s taken his lifting and running routine up a notch during the summer months and strongly encourages opposing players to request oxygen now.

“It’s been a long time, and I can’t remember when, that I’ve felt this good physically and mentally going into the season,” he added. “I’m ready to get it started right now.”

“To make it into this league does require a little luck but what I tell young players that want to get here is that you’ve got to have a strong work ethic and do the little things to enhance your game.”

The speed of the game catches a lot of people off guard when they get to the NBA and many can’t adjust or don’t make the adjustments to become successful on this level. I’ve been in the league 10 years now and I’ve seen them come and go.”

The Rockets have got a few new faces on the squad this year but the final roster hasn’t been posted yet. “I’m enjoying playing with Shane Battier, he’s a very smart player and a great teammate,” McGrady said.

“It has been fun watching some of the rookies like Aaron Brooks and Luis Scola learn the system. There are a few additions to the Rocket squad this year but Management was able to keep the core players from last season in tact.”

When asked about playing for Coach Rick Adelman he was excited. “Coach Adelman puts a player in position to where their strengths are on the court and draws up plays that give the individual and team a greater chance of success.”

When asked about predictions for the upcoming season, T-Mac said, “Only the Houston Rockets can stop the Houston Rockets.”