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NBA hopeful signs $12 million deal with Adidas

June 18, 1997

AUBURNDALE, Fla. (AP) _ Tracy McGrady, who never played a college game, is making a $12 million leap into the NBA and the world of endorsements.

McGrady, 18, signed an endorsement deal with Adidas, a spokesman for the shoe company confirmed Monday.

The 6-foot-8 forward is expected to be among the first 15 players selected in the NBA draft on June 26 in Charlotte, N.C.

``He should be in the top eight or nine,″ Orlando Magic general manager John Gabriel said Monday.

McGrady spent the weekend in Los Angeles for a workout with the Lakers. Then he flew to Indiana, where a similar workout is scheduled with coach Larry Bird’s Pacers.

Sandwiched between his L.A. and Indiana visits was a meeting with Adidas officials.

McGrady told The Ledger in Lakeland he could hardly believe the money being thrown at him.

``After we signed the contract, I told my coach (Joel Hopkins) I can’t believe what I just did,″ said McGrady, who was born in Bartow and raised in Auburndale. ``Man, this is happening too fast.″

Sonny Vicaro, a director of sports marketing with Adidas, said the deal was worth a maximum of $2 million per year. Certain variables, such as his performance and his team’s performance in the NBA, will determine the final amount.

The teen is also obligated to do TV commercials, print ads and in-store promotions for Adidas. Vicaro said those duties probably won’t begin until the second year of the contract.

McGrady attended Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C., the past school year, averaging 27.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists. Prior to that, McGrady averaged 23.1 points per game as a junior at Auburndale High School.

He is expected to be the fourth high school player to be picked in the first round in the last three years. Kevin Garnett was picked by Minnesota two years ago. Last year, Kobe Bryant was picked by the Lakers and Jermaine O’Neal by Portland.

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