At just 18-years-old, former NBA superstar Tracy McGrady had already signed an adidas deal before even stepping foot into the league.
“It was life-changing, bro,” McGrady said during The Pivot podcast.
As AfroTech previously told you, McGrady secured a six-year, $12 million shoe endorsement deal in 1997, despite never playing a college game.
This is not impressive only when you consider his age. What’s more, McGrady was earning more from adidas than the late Kobe Bryant, according to Boardroom. Bryant was also already drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers at the time of securing a deal with adidas.
According to Sports Illustrated, Bryant signed with adidas in 1996. He remained with the company until 2002.
McGrady knew this deal would open doors, which was important since he came from humble beginnings.
He grew up in central Florida, near one of the most drug-infested neighborhoods in the area. His mother, who worked as a housekeeper at Disney, and grandmother, who worked as a janitor, were both doing their best to make ends meet. To reward their contributions, McGrady was sure to share some of his wealth from the deal with his family.
“I can’t lie, it was an amazing thing bro and the first thing I did was take care of my mom and my grandma and my dad. You know what I’m saying? I took care of all three of them,” McGrady told The Pivot podcast.
While McGrady was making sure he was better positioning his family, he was still taking in the reality that he was now on a path to financial freedom.
To save his new earnings, he decided he wanted his first check, which was $500,000, to be in the form of cash.
What he did next may surprise you.
“I received my first check. It was like $500,000, and I wanted it in cash. I was in my room, bro, upstairs — and I just threw all that money on the bed, bro, and just waddled in the bed,” McGrady explained.
McGrady has had a partnership with adidas for over two decades. However, the former NBA player has spoken about trouble brewing, which AfroTech previously reported.
“The treatment that I’ve gotten from them over the last ten years – it is what it is. I deserve better,” McGrady said during the 2022 Hashtag Sports Conference.