Within the past two weeks, two stellar point guards have received their own signature silhouette as Stephen Curry and Under Armour unveiled the Curry 1 and Damian Lillard and adidas unveiled the D Lillard 1, respectively. However, the litany of athletes receiving their very own signature models during the midst of their respective careers is pretty vast. With adidas being involved within the latest signature release, why not take things back to 2002 as this week’s edition of Nice Kicks Throwback Thursday views the detailed history of the adidas T-Mac 1. To see more, flip through the pages below to take a look at the iconic inaugural Tracy McGrady signature model.
High School Phenom
Back in 1997, the emergence of “Da Kid,” aka Kevin Garnett, and the flashes of talent that Kobe Bryant possessed had NBA general managers around the league scouring every crevice of the United States, looking for the next prep phenom. That coveted prospect would ultimately be found in Durham, North Carolina by way of Bartow, Florida as Tracy McGrady of Mt.Zion Christian Academy began to shoot up draft boards across America.
With his 6’8 frame, undeniable dribbling skills and perimeter exploits, McGrady became a viable lottery pick that could ultimately ascend to superstar status within the NBA.
Arrival in T. Dot
Two years removed from Kevin Garnett entering the league and just one year removed from Kobe Bryant finding his way to Los Angeles, the Toronto Raptors made Tracy McGrady the third prep prospect in consecutive years to go in the first round of the NBA draft as McGrady would be the 9th selection in the 1997 NBA Draft. Eventually pairing up with his cousin Vince Carter, McGrady would have an up-and-down beginning to his promising career.
However, as McGrady garnered more experience within the league his game began to evolve as well. The talented forward showcased his best season as a Raptor during the 1999-2000 campaign, as McGrady would be mentioned for Sixth Man of the Year as his aggregate averages of 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists per game helped lead to Toronto to their first postseason appearance.
Journey Back Home
After the 2000 NBA playoffs, Tracy McGrady inked a lucrative six-year, $67.5-million dollar contract to play for the Orlando Magic and subsequently play closer to his home in neighboring Bartow, Florida. As mentioned years prior, McGrady hinted at the fact of having his very own sneaker deal and a NBA contract. With an annual salary north of $10-million dollars and the “keys” to a franchise, adidas leaped at the opportunity to continue to elevate their soon-to-be superstar endorser.
Before receiving his very own signature model, adidas had the forward rock a variety of adidas basketball models such as the adidas Mad Handle. Soon enough, McGrady and adidas would find themselves aligned together for the foreseeable future.
Arrival of the adidas T-Mac Line
Before receiving his very own signature line, Tracy McGrady had a substantial adidas deal that provided the star forward approximately two million dollars annually. With his star power beginning to grow, adidas and hoops legend Sonny Vaccaro helped secure McGrady to adidas for life in April of 2002 as the forward inked a lifetime deal with the Three Stripes brand. With that unprecedented deal arriving for McGrady a subsequent signature line would evolve and the adidas T-Mac 1 would hit retailers.
2002: Year In Review
To provide some context to the year 2002, let’s rundown all of the cultural events that took place right around the time the adidas T-Mac 1 was released. The films Like Mike and Spider Man each graced theaters, thus becoming classics to respective fan bases. Rumors of Jay-Z and Beyonce’s relationship began to surface and the Los Angeles Lakers captured their third straight NBA title.
adidas T-Mac 1
The adidas T-Mac 1 was an intriguing inaugural silhouette that featured perforated leather along the toe box while durable rubber comprises the toe box as well for a sleek and sharp aesthetic. In addition, tonal hues were utilized throughout the upper as many T-Mac 1 model featured a bold dual set of hues. Also, the adidas customary Three Stripes branding can be seen along the tongue tab and side panels of the model, while McGrady’s branding is employed along the heel counter as well.
Lastly, a variety of special colorways derived from the first adidas T-Mac signature, such as the adidas T-Mac 1 “All-Star” as seen below in which McGrady made this incredible off-the-glass in-game dunk that became apart of NBA lore.
Legacy of the adidas T-Mac 1
The legacy of the adidas T-Mac 1 is interesting for a variety of reason due to the popularity with other T-Mac models within its lineage. However, its impact within sneaker culture should not be discounted as the likes of Iman Shumpert, Josh Smith and Jimmy Butler have all been spotted in the model. In addition, LeBron James donned the model in high school before becoming the leading man for Nike.
As the years continue to pass and the legacy of Tracy McGrady becomes encapsulated within intriguing highlights that are headlined by captivating dunks, the adidas T-Mac 1 should grow as well– something we’ve seen from plenty of signature models before.