McGrady has fans back on his side
BY JEROME SOLOMON
Many times since his season came to an end last February because of a
knee injury, the image of Tracy McGrady drew a strong reaction at
Typically, the crowd booed when McGrady was featured during the team’s pregame highlight video.
Tuesday night, however, McGrady’s appearance elicited a much different response from the Rockets faithful.
After nine months out of uniform, a career-threatening surgery and a number change, McGrady returned to the Rockets’ lineup against the Detroit Pistons and drew a rousing ovation, with a sizable portion of the crowd rising to its feet to welcome him back.
What? Guess it’s that heart-growing-fonder-because-of-absence thing.
Yes, it’s confusing. Let’s hope there is no more drama.
The Rockets rolled to a 107-96 win over the Pistons, and while McGrady’s appearance brought a level of excitement to the game, his play had little to do with the outcome. But it changes things.
Despite many predictions that he would never play for the Rockets again, Tracy McGrady is back. And he is happy.
“Through all the stuff that we’ve been through, you haven’t heard it come out of my mouth that I want to leave,” McGrady said. “This is home for me. My wife and kids love it here; I love it here. This is where I live in the offseason.
“I love everything about the organization — the owner, the fans and my teammates. This is it. I feel comfortable here. This is where I want to be.”
The decision to play McGrady for the first time this season was a last-minute one, as the Rockets were shorthanded with Trevor Ariza serving a one-game suspension. For weeks, McGrady has said he is ready to go, but the Rockets have said he wasn’t, which put McGrady in the unusual position of being a player who drew criticism for wanting to play.