Published: September 28, 2017
Tracy McGrady entered the NBA straight from high school at the age of 18, a feat only a handful of players had been able to do previously. Teams were excited about his skills, basketball IQ and youth, but because of back problems, he was only projected to play four to five years. His health was a major concern for teams, except one – the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors picked McGrady ninth overall in the first round of the 1997 NBA draft and his dreams were finally realized.
A towering 6 foot 8 inches, McGrady had great strength and incredible ability. He played for various teams during his career, including the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles from China and the San Antonio Spurs. McGrady was a scoring machine, averaging 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in the NBA, which has a grueling 82-game regular season, plus playoffs. Teams relied on McGrady for his offensive contributions, making him an integral piece of the puzzle for each team he joined.
Times were good, but the years and the strenuous basketball season took a toll on his back, knees and shoulder. Enter James E. Muntz, M.D., professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. McGrady met Muntz during his six-year stint with the Houston Rockets and credits him for adding years to his career. Muntz repaired his knee and shoulder and regularly checks his back to ensure that everything is in working order. Their relationship is so close that McGrady counts on him to care for his entire family. “I’ve been with Dr. Muntz since 2004 and he’s somebody who I feel extremely comfortable with and go see for whatever health reason I may have,” said McGrady.
Thanks to hard work, dedication and the right trainers, McGrady was able to prove the skeptics and early projections wrong, playing for 16 years in the NBA, earning seven All-Star appearances, back-to-back scoring titles in 2003 and 2004, and various other accolades. In a career worthy of induction, Tracy McGrady finally earned his spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2017. Tracy McGrady is one of the Many Faces of UTHealth, and, thanks to years of discipline, training and excellent health care provided by Muntz and others in the UT Physicians clinical practice, he still has game.×