However, the arcs of their careers have an interesting number of parallels. Both were at the top of the world at the beginning of the 21st century, when Eminem released two multi-platinum smash albums with countless hit singles and Tracy McGrady racked up two scoring titles and began a streak of seven consecutive All-Star appearances. Eminem was unquestionably the most popular rapper in the world at this point, while McGrady likely trailed only Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson in popularity (or at least, in jersey sales) on his end.
But as dominant as both were in their respective fields, there was a sort of ephemeral quality to their successes, mainly because neither really fit in with the predominant narratives of their time. Em’s hits were everywhere when they were popular, but had no place to retire to — too hard for recurring pop radio, too weird for hip-hop and too … well, not rock for rock, few of his songs stayed in regular rotation anywhere after their runs had passed. And while T-Mac was certainly prolific during his best days, he had few single games or performances that were meaningful or memorable enough to really endure in the public memory. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to name a game of his that would likely be replayed on NBA TV or ESPN Classic (with the exception of his 13-point final-minute comeback against the Spurs, which I suppose stands as his “Lose Yourself.”)
There’s not much analysis I can add here, but I highly recommend reading it if you like hip hop and outside the box comparisons.
Tags: Tracy McGrady