Tracy McGrady Interview
USA basketball senior team practices for the Americas Olympic Qualifying tournament have begun in New York. Stars on the team include Jason Kidd, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, Elton Brand and Tim Duncan. The U.S. team has an exhibition game against Puerto Rico in New York on August 15. The tournament is in Puerto Rico and begins on August 20. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner and a few other reporters conducted this interview with McGrady right after the first day of practice.
Question: Talk about the general mood this team has.
Tracy McGrady: Well, with this team I think guys are definitely coming
in being focused. It's funny, we have to go over here and qualify, so there's
no time to really play around. Everyone's coming in here and getting their mind
set that this is really not a joke. They took the gold medal from us, which we
had for a long period of time, and now it's time for us to take it back.
Question: With the three-point line closer in international play, will it be tempting for you to pull up and fire those?
Tracy McGrady: (Laughs) Yeah. That's just like a regular jump-shot to me, inside the three-point line. I can't remember the last time I shot a college three or a high school three, but it's definitely going to work for a lot of guys' advantage, definitely mine. Yeah, it's going to help us out.
Question: What other rule changes have you considered?
Tracy McGrady: I really don't know too many of the rule changes, but I think one of them is the goal-tending rule. I think that'll work to my advantage, because I am a leaper, so you'll probably see a few of those out of me.
Question: Swatting them out of the cylinder....
Tracy McGrady: Absolutely, I'm definitely going to take advantage of that.
Question: You guys have been getting Kobe questions everywhere you go, how hard is that to deal with?
Tracy McGrady: It's really not that hard, because we're going to stay away
from it. That's our main thing is to leave that alone and just concentrate on
the qualifying games. That's all we're trying to do right now. We're really not
trying to get caught up in that. We're just going to be focused and concentrate
on Puerto Rico.
Question: Were you looking forward to playing on the same team with him?
Tracy McGrady: Absolutely. Kobe is my man. Ever since I came into the league we've been close friends, and I definitely was looking forward to being a part of his team and going over there and competing with him.
Question: How's the Magic off-season been going?
Tracy McGrady: We made some real good acquisitions, acquiring Juwan Howard, which I think will help not only me out but help our team out. I think we have the pieces to the puzzle to really advance to the second round.