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.
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.
Sneaker: adidas Top Ten 2000
Clearly T-Mac was all about the Three Stripe life from the very beginning. Word to Sonny V.
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.
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.
Sneaker: adidas KB8 II
So, did we mention the history between Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady?
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?
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.
Sneaker: adidas Mad Handle
The name, the design, the shoe–it all screams early 2000s adidas Basketball.
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.
Sneaker: adidas Amazing Bromium II
The Dynamic Duo would be split up not long after this. 🙁
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.
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?
Oh yeah, can we get a retro on this colorway adidas?
Or maybe the USA version?
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.
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.
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…
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.
There was also that Team Edition T-Mac…
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…
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.
Sneaker: adidas T-Mac 6 “All-Star” (Blame it on Vegas)
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.
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…
Sneaker: adidas Pirhana 3.0
Damian Lillard broke out a pair of these last summer. Would you buy a retro?
Sneaker: adidas Pro Model S
T-Mac must have liked heavy shoes.
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.
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.
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.
Sneaker: adidas TS Speedcut
Clearly T-Mac had some decent moments as a Piston…
Sneaker: adidas TS Commander
An odd choice, considering this shoe’s roots were in the Dwight Howard line.
Sneaker: adidas TS Lowmotion
Clearly T-Mac’s worst sneaker decision.
Sneaker: adidas adiZero Ghost/Ghost 2
Sneaker: adidas adiZero Shadow
Sneaker: adidas adiZero Crazylight 2
You can never go wrong with Crazylights.
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.
The D-Rose era…and the end of T-Mac playing competitively.
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!
Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with over 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, StockX, and Stadium Goods better connect with their consumers, has an addiction to burritos and Sour Patch Kids, and owns way too many shoes for his own good.