Tracy McGrady is one of the purest scorers in NBA history, and although he isn't much of a factor, the fact that he's finally headed to the NBA Finals is putting smiles on a lot of NBA fans' faces.
McGrady has only appeared in four of the team's 14 playoff games, and has yet to score any points. But he's embraced his role, assuring anybody asking that he feels he makes the team better and will be ready if called upon.
And most importantly, after a career famous for early exits, he appears to be enjoying his run:
No, like, he's really happy:
Also enjoying his run? Twitter, which made McGrady a trending topic Monday night:
I'm glad Tracy McGrady got out of the first round and experienced a playoff run. I love that the Spurs signed him so he can go out this way.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 28, 2013
Tracy McGrady didn't make the playoffs in China, but made the Finals in the NBA.— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) May 28, 2013
Ladies and gentlemen, Tracy McGrady is playing in the NBA Finals. Yes, this is real life.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 28, 2013
Tracy McGrady is 192 minutes from getting a ring.— Andy Hutchins (@AndyHutchins) May 28, 2013
Add NBA Finalist to Tracy McGrady's resume— Curtis Harris (@ProHoopsHistory) May 28, 2013
Tracy McGrady has one eye on the prize :)— Myles Brown (@mdotbrown) May 28, 2013
And many, many, many, many more.
If McGrady does win an NBA championship as a Spurs benchwarmer, he won't be the first. Steve Smith was a quality scorer, averaging 20 points per game twice with the Atlanta Hawks and making one All-Star Game, but he only scored 16 total points -- on 24 shots, yikes -- in a Spurs playoff run in 2003 that ended up with him getting a ring. Glenn Robinson was the No. 1 pick in 1994 and a two-time All-Star, but averaged just 3.8 points per game in the playoffs as the 2005 Spurs won a title.
And let us not forget such NBA greats as Jackie Butler, James White and Mengke Bateer (!!!!!!!!), all of whom technically won NBA titles with the Spurs despite not even playing a minute in the playoffs. T-Mac did infinitely more in the Spurs' playoff run than them.
If the Spurs think they're better served as an organization with the once-elite scorer on the squad -- even if all he does is help in practice, play insignificant minutes and generally ride pine -- he deserves to be recognized for whatever the team does. And hey, maybe foul trouble or some other mishap could lead to him stepping up and doing something important. So let's only scoff a little bit if and when he has a chance to slip on a ring.
Most importantly, let's spend our days watching old videos of Tracy McGrady, who truly was once incredible.
Perhaps the Spurs just know it's better to have this guy on their bench than the other one: