Mano a mano, Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant had comparable stat lines for many seasons in the NBA. McGrady was a scorer and star in his own right in his good years, although he ended up with a much more abbreviated career than Bryant, who also collected five championships.
The two have been contrasted before, but when McGrady was asked to compare them again on FOX Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr Sports on Wednesday, he didn’t just talk points per game when he said he was in the same class as Bryant — he talked championships, too. As in, championships he thinks he would have won if he’d had a chance in Bryant’s shoes.
Specifically, McGrady contends that, if he was with the Los Angeles Lakers rather than the Orlando Magic early in his career, he would have had a stronger relationship with Shaquille O’Neal than Bryant did.
The big man-young scorer duo would have gone on longer and produced just as many, if not more, championships had he had a chance to play with the Lakers instead of Bryant, McGrady said.
“We would have had a great run,” McGrady said, as transcribed by Larry Brown Sports. “I don’t know how many, but I know it would have never ended like it did with he and Kobe.
“I have a great relationship with Shaq. We would have never clashed heads like that. Two alpha dogs going at, there will always be [something going on].”
There’s no way to know, of course, if McGrady and O’Neal would have been pals or played well together, just as there’s no way to know if countless other highly talented players would have won championships if they were on teams with better combinations of players. O’Neal did say early in his career that he thought he and McGrady could have been more successful together than he and Bryant, too.
McGrady can’t be faulted, though, for playing the “woulda coulda shoulda” game, as he did have pretty obvious ability before injuries derailed the remainder of his career.