Tracy McGrady to try baseball

Updated: February 5, 2014, 10:50 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

HOUSTON -- Tracy McGrady wants to follow Michael Jordan's path to the national pastime.

The retired seven-time NBA All-Star is aiming to become a baseball player, and plans to try pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. That's the same team that Roger Clemens pitched for a couple of years ago.

Jordan famously played in the Chicago White Sox organization in 1994 during his first retirement from basketball, reaching the Double-A level.

"Just having a tryout for a minor league team is more fulfilling than anything I can imagine as far as baseball," McGrady told ESPN.com by phone Tuesday. "I'm just going to train as hard as I can and pursue my dream. Where this takes me, I don't know.

"I'm doing this for the love of the game. I've made money. The Atlantic League doesn't have salaries like the major leagues. So this is a kid who's trying to fulfill his dream. This isn't a gimmick. I've played baseball. I know the game of baseball. And I'm going after what I've always wanted to do."

A statement from the Skeeters says that it is a "lifelong dream" of McGrady's to play baseball.

"McGrady has demonstrated skill, determination and diligence during his training program," the statement said. "We look forward to monitoring his progress."

The 34-year-old McGrady played for several teams, including the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. He last played in the NBA in the 2012-13 season.

The Skeeters last made national headlines when Clemens pitched two games for them in 2012 at age 50.

McGrady made seven consecutive All-Star Games from 2001-07. The 6-foot-8 McGrady, natural right-hander, was drafted out of high school with the ninth overall pick in 1997 by the Toronto Raptors. He spent his first three seasons with the Raptors before becoming a star with the Magic. He spent four years with the Magic and led the NBA scoring in both the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.

He then joined the Rockets where he teamed with Yao Ming to help Houston to three playoff appearances.

McGrady played for the Knicks, Detroit and Atlanta after a six-year stint with the Rockets and was on the Spurs' postseason roster last season. He retired with more than 18,000 points and more than 5,000 rebounds in his career.

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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