By Rachel Nichols
Page 2

EDITOR'S NOTE: On occasion, we all need help. But where to turn? Fortunately, Rachel Nichols is here to bring us the special kind of advice that only the world's greatest athletes can dole out. Whether to take it ... well, that's up to you. Today's Ill-Advised expert: NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady.

RACHEL: He's No. 1 in your programs, and, well, No. 1 in your hearts -- at least in the hearts of the 1,993,687 of you who voted him a starter in the NBA All-Star Game. But before Tracy McGrady can distribute the rock in Denver, we've got him handing out advice on Page 2.

TRACY: Let's do it.

RACHEL: OK, but you have to answer our regular opening question: What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Chris Paul
Practice, practice, practice. It's the best way to stay away from Duke women.

TRACY: Damn. Right out of the gate -- that's a tough one. I don't even know what I could say. I've gotten lots of good advice.

RACHEL: But did you listen?

TRACY: Sometimes. Sometimes you have to go out and learn things for yourself.

RACHEL: True. Like defending a Jordan jumper. Or teaching a goat to roller skate. There is no substitute for experience. Still, I bet you can help some of our Page 2 faithful. Let's start with Jeff Stokes in New York. He writes, "I have a crazy collection of basketball sneakers, but I'm about to move in with my girl, and she says I have to get rid of some of them. She doesn't want to live with a dude who has more shoes than she does, and besides, the apartment is pretty small. How do I pick which ones to keep?"

TRACY: Well, you have to keep the ones you play in. But you can put the rest aside, the smelly, the dingy ones. Just let them go.

RACHEL: Good rule of thumb: If your shoes can crawl away on their own, it's time to let them run free. Still, a lot of guys I know are bigger shoe hogs than any of my girlfriends. You must have a few pairs in the collection you just can't part with.

TRACY: You can't go wrong with just wearing all-white sneaks, and I've got a lot of those, but I don't wear basketball shoes out in the street. The only time I wear basketball shoes is when I'm playing.

RACHEL: Important to keep work and play separate. Except adult-film stars. Then pretty much anything goes.

Now this next one is a pretty big responsibility. Corey in Clearwater, Okla., writes, "I'm trying to decide who to name my unborn child after. It has to be a name that begins with a C, and we've narrowed it down to four names we like: Chike (as in Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chike Okeafor), Carmelo (as in Anthony), Corliss (as in Corliss Williamson), or Cuttino (as in Cuttino Mobley). My wife's favorite is Chike, but I think it sounds a little feminine. Any insight or suggestions?

TRACY: I'm going to have to go with the wife on this one. I like Chike because it's unique. I don't know that one. I already know a Cuttino; I know a Carmelo.

RACHEL: Well, sure, if we're going by your Rolodex, then we couldn't use Beyonce or Tyra either. Good thing it's going to be a boy. You're named Tracy -- did anyone ever tease you for having a girl's name?

TRACY: Oh they still do. It's, "Tracy's a girl's name, Tracy's a girl's name." But by the end of the game, they're loving me. It's, "Tracy, you're my favorite player."

RACHEL: Well, that settles it. Go for little Chike. If nothing else, he'll be the favorite of NBA hecklers everywhere.

Now Dan in Iowa also needs advice, and I picked this one out of the pile especially for you, because you're an all-star expert and all. Dan writes, "I live in a pretty rural area where they hold an all-star game at the end of basketball season. All the players and coaches vote for who they think is the best. I don't really deserve to be there on merit, but I want to play. Any suggestions for campaigning my way on to the squad?"

TRACY: Oh that's easy. It's called sucking up. Bring everyone doughnuts, tell them how nice they look.

RACHEL: Ah, the secret is out. You've gotten yourself named to the All-Star Game so many times because of a secret alliance with Krispy Kreme.

TRACY: Oh, I don't do doughnuts. My rookie year, Marcus Camby and a couple of the other guys tried to get me to get them doughnuts, orange juice, papers, all that stuff. I told them I don't play that.

RACHEL: Somewhere in Denver, Marcus is still waiting for his fresh-squeezed. So sad. In the meantime, let's help out Rory Clarkson of Tempe, Ariz. Rory writes, "I have a question about strip clubs. If a lap dance is 20 bucks, do you think that the girls expect a tip on top of that? And if they do, what is the normal gratuity? 20 percent? Does it depend on the dance? I need to know the proper etiquette as I don't want to come across as ignorant."

TRACY: See, I just wouldn't know about that sort of thing.

RACHEL: Of course not. And the odds ESPN gives on football games are just for entertainment purposes. But if you were just going to imagine what it was like ...

TRACY: Well, just imagining, I'd have to say it would depend on how long he's with her. I mean, if it's an hour -- she's got all your money anyway.

RACHEL: Yeah, I guess if you're giving a girl $20 for a dance for an hour straight, she should be tipping you by the end of it.

So the last question we always ask is, what's the best advice you have for the people out there?

TRACY: I'd say that when you do something, try to be one-of-a-kind. Like when I'm buying jewelry, I'm always looking for the most exclusive thing, something no one else has.

RACHEL: Oh yeah, totally. I'm the same with yams.

TRACY: Hey, whatever works.

Got an issue or a question, or otherwise need to be 'Ill-Advised' in the future? Send it to Rachel Nichols right here.


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