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Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Lithicon

The Comprehensive History of Tracy McGrady adidas T-Mac Sneakers

Tracy McGrady and his T-Mac sneakers, at one point, were arguably better than Kobe Bryant. Despite Kobe’s latest opinion on the matter, he once claimed T-Mac was the toughest player he’d ever played against. In case you didn’t know, the two have a history. They came up together on a similar path, including the adidas ABCD Basketball Camps, which eventually led to both players signing with the Three Stripes. T-Mac developed into a better player early but due to injuries, lacked the longevity that Kobe has had over the years.

Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant at the adidas ABCD Basketball Camp

T-Mac was one of the few players that seemed to find success anywhere and at any time on the court. The 7-time NBA All-Star led the league in scoring in back to back seasons in 2003 and 2004 and finished his career with 18,381 Points (19.6 ppg), 5,276 Rebounds (5.6 RPG) and 4,161 Assists (4.4 APG).

Seeing the numbers, it’s still surprising to see the T-Mac sneakers line as one of the most underrated signature sneaker athletes, especially considering the obvious amount of respect he gets from other NBA superstars and the fact that he was adidas’ pinnacle athlete at one time. The always present argument that players can only truly build a following and legacy by sticking with 1-2 teams throughout their career is undoubtedly valid when it comes to Tracy McGrady’s fanbase. He played for the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, and San Antonio Spurs. However, fans in China seem to have stuck with T-Mac sneakers through thick and thin.

That said, with adidas recently announcing the return of the T-Mac 5 shoes in China, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at Tracy McGrady’s adidas sneakers. What most people won’t know is that T-Mac wore a lot more than just his own signature shoes. Click through to see the complete history of his on-court sneakers and then some in this comprehensive stroll down T-Mac Memory Lane.

2000 Stars Slam Dunk Contest

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Top Ten 2000 in High School

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Top Ten 2000 in High School

Year: 1997
Sneaker: adidas Top Ten 2000

Clearly T-Mac was all about the Three Stripe life from the very beginning. Word to Sonny V.

 

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Real Deal in 1998

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Real Deal in 1998

Year: 1998
Sneaker: adidas Real Deal

Before T-Mac had his own signature, he was rockin’ some of the most underrated shoes from adidas. The Feet You Wear era is often regarded as some of the best performing basketball shoes ever made and T-Mac landed at adidas at just the right time.

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Silk in 1999

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Silk in 1999

Year: 1999
Sneaker: adidas Silk

The adidas Silk was clearly a part of the era in which the adidas Kobe line came into its own. The design cues are undeniable.

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas KB8 II in 1999

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas KB8 II in 1999 – (History of T-Mac Sneakers)

Year: 1999
Sneaker: adidas KB8 II

So, did we mention the history between Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady?

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas KB8 III in 1999

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas KB8 III in 1999

Year: 1999
Sneaker: adidas KB8 III

So, did we mention the history between Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady? And yes, Vince Carter used to wear PUMA. Did you know PUMA is coming back to basketball sneakers in 2015?

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Lithicon PE, Vince Carter in And1 Tai Chi

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Lithicon PE, Vince Carter in And1 Tai Chi

Year: 2001
Sneaker: adidas Lithicon PE

I always thought the Lithicon was a dope looking shoe but I’m glad the T-Mac logo evolved into something a little more appealing.

adidas Lithicon T-Mac PE

Closer look at the adidas Lithicon T-Mac PE

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Lithicon

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Lithicon PE

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Lithicon

Because, Muggsy.

Tracy McGrady in the adidas Mad Handle

Tracy McGrady in the adidas Mad Handle

Year: 2001
Sneaker: adidas Mad Handle

The name, the design, the shoe–it all screams early 2000s adidas Basketball.

adidas Mad Handle

adidas Mad Handle

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Amazing Handle in 2001

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Amazing Handle in 2001

Year: 2001
Sneaker: adidas Amazing Handle

The Amazing Handle design flew under the radar. Most likely because the name leaves a lot to be desired. The Mixtape Tour era was good in some ways and bad in others.

Tracy McGrady in the adidas Bromium II

Tracy McGrady in the adidas Bromium II – (History of T-Mac Sneakers)

Year: 2001
Sneaker: adidas Amazing Bromium II

The Dynamic Duo would be split up not long after this. 🙁

Tracy McGrady in the T-Mac 1 in 2002

Tracy McGrady in the T-Mac 1 – (History of T-Mac Sneakers)

 

Tracy McGrady in the T-Mac 1 in 2002 All Star Game

Tracy McGrady in the T-Mac 1 with Allen Iverson in the Reebok Answer V at the 2002 NBA All-Star Game

Year: 2002
Sneaker: adidas T-Mac 1

T-Mac and Allen Iverson also shared some battles on the court throughout the years, but clearly some were all laughs. The T-Mac 1 kicked off McGrady’s T-Mac sneakers line with adidas, and would also be worn by some kid name LeBron, as well as players like Iman Shumpert, Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, and Jimmy Butler, among others.

Eastbay Catalog Cover featuring Tracy McGrady in the T-Mac 1

Eastbay Catalog Cover featuring Tracy McGrady in the T-Mac 1

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas T-Mac 2

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas T-Mac 2

Kobe Bryant in the Jordan 3 True Blue and Tracy McGrady Wearing the adidas T-Mac 3 in the NBA All Star Game 2003

Kobe Bryant in the Jordan 3 True Blue and Tracy McGrady Wearing the adidas T-Mac 2 in the NBA All-Star Game 2003

Year: 2003
Sneaker: adidas T-Mac 2

Did we mention these two have a history? Clearly the media loves to play it up. Anybody got those All-Star socks?

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Oh yeah, can we get a retro on this colorway adidas?

LeBron James wearing the adidas T-Mac 2 SVSM

LeBron James wearing the adidas T-Mac 2 SVSM

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Or maybe the USA version?

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas T-Mac 2 "USA" for the FIBA World Championships in 2003

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas T-Mac 2 “USA” for the FIBA World Championships in 2003

Tracy McGrady Wearing the adidas T-Mac 3 in the NBA All Star Game 2003

Tracy McGrady Wearing the adidas T-Mac 3 in the NBA All-Star Game 2004

Year: 2004
Sneaker: adidas T-Mac 3 “All-Star”

This was the most talked about thing in the 2004 All-Star Game. Even though Shaq outshined everyone and the Western Conference took home the W. Shouts to Packer Shoes for bringing these back recently.

Got Milk?

Tracy McGrady Got Milk Campaign - adidas T-Mac 3

Tracy McGrady Got Milk Campaign – adidas T-Mac 3

Tracy McGrady in the adidas T-Mac 3.5

Tracy McGrady in the adidas T-Mac 3.5

Year: 2004
Sneaker: adidas T-Mac 3.5

Often forgotten, the T-Mac 3.5 didn’t get much credit and didn’t make much noise at retail, even in limited release. But one thing we can’t forget is McGrady dropping 62 points.

adidas T-Mac 4

adidas T-Mac 4

adidas T-Mac 4

adidas T-Mac 4

Year: 2004
Sneaker: adidas T-Mac 4

Quite possibly the heaviest basketball shoe of the modern era, the T-Mac 4 featured the laceless “HUG” system. Surprisingly, these shoes are really comfortable. Peep the video below for more on how the technology works.

And don’t forget the greatest 35 seconds a player has had in NBA history…

 

Tracy McGrady in the adidas T-Mac 4.5 at the 2005 NBA All Star Game

Tracy McGrady in the adidas T-Mac 4.5 at the 2005 NBA All-Star Game

Year: 2005
Sneaker: adidas T-Mac 4.5

You thought the half number signature model is a new thing? Think again. T-Mac’s fourth and a half sneaker (sorry, I had to), was not only the one he wore for the 2005 All-Star Game, but there was also a version made for the public in Denver Nuggets colors, which was limited to 2005 pairs worldwide.

adidas T-Mac 4.5 Denver All Star Edition

adidas T-Mac 4.5 Denver All-Star Edition

 

There was also that Team Edition T-Mac…

adidas T-Mac Team Edition

adidas T-Mac Team Edition

Tracy McGrady on the Cover of Kicks Magazine with the adidas T Mac 5

Tracy McGrady on the Cover of Kicks Magazine with the adidas T Mac 5

Year: 2005
Sneaker: adidas T-Mac 5

The T-Mac 5 dropped in 10 years ago this year, hence the retro from adidas. Back then, it was cover material for Slam Magazine’s Kicks. And the greatest posterizartion of all time…

Tracy McGrady Dunks on Shawn Bradley wearing the adidas T-Mac 5

Tracy McGrady Dunks on Shawn Bradley wearing the adidas T-Mac 5

adidas TS Lightspeed T-Mac Edition 2007

adidas TS Lightspeed T-Mac Edition

 

Year: 2007
Sneaker: adidas TS Lightspeed T-Mac Edition

McGrady had a few colorways of the TS Lightspeed, which is a shoe that is pretty underrated. The reinforced toe cap, padded ankle, and collar and breathable toe area made it a pretty solid performer in my opinion. Clearly, T-Mac felt the same way, putting up 47 points in a pair against the Jazz.

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas T-Mac 6 All Star

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas T-Mac 6 All-Star

adidas T-Mac 6 All Star Edition Black/Gold

adidas T-Mac 6 All-Star Edition

Year: 2006
Sneaker: adidas T-Mac 6 “All-Star” (Blame it on Vegas)

adidas T-Mac 6 Maui Invitational Edition

adidas T-Mac 6 Maui Invitational Edition

Year: 2006
Sneaker: adidas T-Mac 6 “Maui Invitational” (aka stupidly limited)

In the mid-2000s, adidas Basketball went aggressive with the colorways. And we’re not just talking bold colors, we are talking massive amounts of bold colorways. The T-Mac 6 was the recipient of both a large number of variations, some good (like the Maui Invitationals) and some down right terrible. Thankfully, they’ve gotten past that.

adidas TS Creator T-Mac Edition

adidas TS Creator T-Mac Edition

Year: 2008
Sneaker: adidas TS Creator

The Team Series of sneakers from adidas seemed to take away any signature T-Mac sneakers (and seemingly every other signature model) for a few years but it did make some pretty dope player editions. The TS Creator was also made for nearly every player on the adidas lineup, which makes for some awesome collectibility. There were even some collabs with this model.

And then there was the Election Day PEs…

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Creator 2008 Election Day PE

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Creator 2008 Election Day PE

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Pirhana

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Pirhana 3.0

Year: 2008
Sneaker: adidas Pirhana 3.0

Damian Lillard broke out a pair of these last summer. Would you buy a retro?

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Pro Model S in 2008

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Pro Model S in 2008

Year: 2008
Sneaker: adidas Pro Model S

T-Mac must have liked heavy shoes.

adidas TS Cut Creator T-Mac Edition

adidas TS Cut Creator T-Mac Edition

Year: 2009
Sneaker: adidas TS Cut Creator

The TS Cut Creator, as the name implies, was the next in the Team Series designed for quicker players, ie. T-Mac, Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, etc. This was another shoe that had a tremendous amount of player exclusives and sometimes the difference was a simple embossed logo on the heel that you really had to pay attention to even notice. Well played, adidas.

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Lightning Creator PE

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Lightning Creator PE

Year: 2009
Sneaker: adidas TS Lightning Creator

The TS Lightning Creator actually got a tad heavier than the predecessor but cushioning was improved and like the rest of the Team Signature models, PEs were a plenty.

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Supernatural Creator New York Knicks PE

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Supernatural Creator New York Knicks PE

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Supernatural Creator in 2010

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Supernatural Creator in 2010

Year: 2010
Sneaker: adidas TS Supernatrual Creator

What most people never noticed is that while most players (and the public) got a zippered version that covered the laces, T-Mac’s Supernatural Creator didn’t have the lace cover or the accompanying ankle strap. Details, details, details.

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Speedcut in 2010

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Speedcut in 2010

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Speedcut

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Speedcut

Year: 2010
Sneaker: adidas TS Speedcut

Clearly T-Mac had some decent moments as a Piston…

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Commander LT

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Commander LT

Year: 2010
Sneaker: adidas TS Commander

An odd choice, considering this shoe’s roots were in the Dwight Howard line.

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Lowmotion in 2011

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas TS Lowmotion in 2011

Year: 2011
Sneaker: adidas TS Lowmotion

Clearly T-Mac’s worst sneaker decision.

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas adizero Ghost

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas adizero Ghost

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas adizero Ghost 2

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas adizero Ghost 2

Year: 2012
Sneaker: adidas adiZero Ghost/Ghost 2

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas adizero Shadow in 2012

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas adizero Shadow in 2012

Year: 2012
Sneaker: adidas adiZero Shadow

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas adizero Crazylight 2 in 2012

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas adizero Crazylight 2 in 2012

Year: 2012
Sneaker: adidas adiZero Crazylight 2

You can never go wrong with Crazylights.

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas adizero Infiltrate

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas adizero Infiltrate

Tracy McGrady's Wang Hai Double Star Sneakers

Tracy McGrady’s Wang Hai Double Star Sneakers

Year: 2012
Sneaker: Wang Hai Double Star Custom

What’s it feel like to wear a pair of sneakers with your own face on it? China <3’s T-Mac.

Tracy McGrady's Wang Hai Double Star Sneakers

Tracy McGrady’s Wang Hai Double Star Sneakers

Custom sneakers made for Tracy McGrady's China arrival party in 2012

Custom sneakers made for Tracy McGrady’s China arrival party in 2012

The D-Rose era…and the end of T-Mac playing competitively.

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Rose 773 2

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Rose 773 Light

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Rose 3.5 in China in 2012

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Rose 3.5 in China in 2012

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Rose 3 in China in 2012

Tracy McGrady wearing the adidas Rose 3 in China in 2012

And for good measure, T-Mac’s Career Top Ten Plays from the NBA…

Hit us up on Twitter if you think we missed something!

Shouts to Hoop China, Kenlu, Nice Kicks, NBA, SneakerNews and Sole Collector for the images.

Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with nearly 15 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector and Sneaker News. Helped companies like Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, and StockX better connect with their consumers. He's an avid San Francisco Giants fan, Allen Iverson fan, and owns way too many sneakers for his own good.

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