In 1997, Tracy McGrady was among the top NBA recruits entering the draft. Coming straight out of North Carolina’s Mt. Zion Christian Academy, the 18-year-old athlete initially dreamed of playing college basketball before entering the draft. However, a massive endorsement deal changed the game.
Before his plans to join the University of Kentucky team, McGrady was offered a six-year, $12 million shoe endorsement deal with adidas.
“Tracy McGrady has never played a college game, but the 18-year-old basketball star is making a $12 million leap into the big leagues. The money is coming, not from an NBA team, but from Adidas,” AP News reported on June 19, 1997.