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What I Learned – Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O’Neal to launch NBA player representation agency

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Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady and six-time NBA All-Star Jermaine O’Neal are planning to launch a player representation agency this fall, according to The New York Times’ Marc Stein. The two former NBA veterans, now 41 years of age, are opting to start Seven1 Sports Group and Entertainment to help young players in their NBA journeys, with a focus on young Black players. The agency’s name incorporates McGrady and O’Neal’s jersey numbers and represents their goal to help incoming talent. “We think it’s needed, and we have a passion for it,” McGrady told The Times. “We’re around kids every single day because we have youth programs. It just makes sense. We see the lack of information that these kids are getting, so we would be doing a disservice to our people if we don’t lend our expertise of what we know and help guide them. This is a calling that we have.”The idea to launch an agency came about between McGrady and O’Neal over the past two years, with talks growing more serious during the coronavirus pandemic. If plans fall into place, McGrady said he would most likely step away as an ESPN broadcaster and serve as a co-owner and adviser to players. Meanwhile, O’Neal plans to be McGrady’s partner and become a registered NBA agent after taking the league’s test in January.  While retired players have had difficulty breaking into the player representation business, McGrady and O’Neal say they hope to share their experiences in the NBA with potential clients entering the 2021 draft. In particular, O’Neal has made connections with 2021 draft candidate Cade Cunningham through the Drive Nation program and has also formed bonds with potential top 2020 selections R.J. Hampton, Tyrese Maxey and Jahmi’us Ramsey. “There’s no magic wand for this,” O’Neal told The Times. “We’re not trying to say we’re the magic wand. But we’re going to be different. You can’t name another pair of people who have had the level of success and the ups and downs that we’ve had in our careers.”McGrady and O’Neal, who now live in Texas, both started their NBA careers out of high school and initially shared the same agent and sneaker brand. McGrady was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the No. 9 overall pick in the 1997 draft and O’Neal was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 17 pick in the 1996 draft. The two players share a combined 13 All-Star selections, and McGrady was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017. 

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