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Tracy McGrady Explained Why He Chose $12M From Adidas Over Going To Kentucky: "At 18 Years Old, It's Not A Hard Decision. Forget College."

Tracy McGrady Explained Why He Chose $12M From Adidas Over Going To Kentucky: "At 18 Years Old, It's Not A Hard Decision. Forget College."

Tracy McGrady was part of a rare group of players in the NBA that came into the NBA without any collegiate experience. When McGrady was coming up, it was very rare for players to enter the league without any collegiate experience behind them. And now, McGrady has explained why turned down the opportunity to go play college basketball. And it is something we are seeing a lot more of now.

In a recent interview with Shannon Sharpe, Tracy McGrady revealed that he did want to play collegiate basketball, specifically for the Kentucky Wildcats. He was all set to join Kentucky. But after his performance at the Adidas camp, he was offered a whopping $12 million to sign an endorsement deal with them and make the jump to the NBA directly from high school.

McGrady was then asked about what he would do today, considering the recent change in NCAA rules which allows players to sign endorsement deals while also taking part in collegiate athletic programs. McGrady noted that he would sign the contract and play college basketball, as that is one of the few regrets he had in his career. The chance to play college basketball was very important to McGrady.

“I took my business to a couple of colleges. When I went to Kentucky, and I saw how those boys were living, I said ‘this is where I want to go to school’. I was already a fan before I went there… I’m sitting in my coach's office, he’s giving me this speech - ‘I know you love Kentucky and what they have to offer and I know you’ll do great. I have an offer from Adidas, they want you really bad'. And when he sat it in front of me, at that time, at 18 years old, it’s not a hard decision… Forget college, they can’t offer me $12 million, I can’t turn that down... They were in Florida and I was in North Carolina, so I made the call. Obviously, they were overwhelmed with joy. And that’s what it's about to me. Having that type of impact on your family. I wasn’t fortunate enough to win a championship but when I look back on what I was able to do for my mother and my grandmother, absolutely.”

“I’m going to Kentucky. If I can make $12 million and enjoy the college experience, why not? I love college basketball, I watch it frequently. I watch my Kentucky Wildcats faithfully. Yes, I would have taken that $12 million and gone to Kentucky for sure… I think the one thing I do miss out on is the whole March Madness thing. That experience for me is the memory you would love to create and love to be able to talk about those memories 30-40 years from now. For that, I wish I had the opportunity to experience that. But going to the parties and stuff life that, that really is not my thing.”

In the same interview, McGrady also talked about the possibility of playing with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. But when it comes to college basketball, it is clear that McGrady had his heart set on playing for the Wildcats. Considering the history of amazing players the Kentucky Wildcats have had, McGrady would have fit right into the crop of amazingly talented players the college has developed.

The way the NCAA has allowed collegiate players to profit off of their own name and likeness will ensure that no player in the future will be forced to choose between a high-paying endorsement deal and playing for the collegiate program of their choice.