After getting off to a rocky start in Qingdao (and a rocky middle for that matter), things are looking up for Tracy McGrady and his squad as the CBA hits its home stretch. After being suspended for a game by the league for his Sina Weibo referee rant (of which has since been deleted from his account), Mai Di and the Eagles won at Jilin last night to win their fourth straight game.
T-Mac finished the game with 38 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in what was arguably his best overall performance and the best performance of Sunday’s round of games. On top of that, he was serenaded by what was quite possibly the loudest chants of “MVP” from an opposing crowd thus far. (For those who haven’t been following, there’s been a lot of MVP cheers from away crowds this year.)
No doubt, after a huge game, a post-game interview would be in order. Or, considering that the iconic McGrady’s every move has been and will continue to be the lead story this season, perhaps a feature interview. Or a one-on-one TV spot.
And all of that can be in order… if you cough up some dough first.
According to a Jilin newspaper, McGrady will sit down for non-mandatory media sessions only under the following conditions: An up front payment of $5,000 for a one-on-one interview and $1,000 for a group interview.
Which explains why nobody has gotten an exclusive interview in China with McGrady yet. And it also explains why you haven’t seen a lot of off-court pictures either because if you want one of those, you apparently have to pick up the fee for his hotel suite.
Granted, the former NBA scoring champ is mobbed everywhere he goes and is the frequent recipient of over-the-top idol worship, which includes grown men crying “I love you!” with tears streaming down their faces and other various weirdness. I get all that and I understand why McGrady and his team would want to ensure some safety and privacy.
But this seems a little much, especially since another former NBA All-Star, Stephon Marbury, has been elevated to national pop culture icon in part because of his openness to interact with fans and Chinese media. The counterpart to that of course, is that McGrady already is a national icon and then some. I mean, have you seen dude get mobbed at the airport simply for breathing and walking at the same time? And hey, we get that, too.
But we’ll repeat: For a dude who has made over a hundred million dollars in salaries and endorsements, this seems like a bit much.