Walker nearly ruined McGrady
I remember the conversation like it was yesterday, standing near the basketball court at what was then called SkyDome, Darrell Walker shaking his head, his arms crossed, as he held his daily media gathering as coach of the Raptors.
He was talking about Tracy McGrady, again. About his frustration with the Raptors rookie. About his belief that McGrady would never make it in the NBA, didn’t have it, didn’t work hard enough, wasn’t serious enough, couldn’t get his head out of those damn video games.
What ended up happening? Walker was fired as coach of the Raptors after 49 games that 1998 season, winning just 11 times. As for McGrady, well, on Friday, after leading the NBA in scoring twice, after playing in the all-star game seven times, he was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
What can a coach mean? Butch Carter, who replaced Walker, invested greatly in McGrady — pushed him, prodded him, believed in him, watched him and helped him grow.
Unfortunately, he became great after leaving Toronto. Not sure what would have become of McGrady had Walker remained his coach.