After a combined 34 seasons in the NBA, Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady and six-time All Star Jermaine O’Neal are joining forces to start a player representation agency this fall. In an interview with the New York Times, the pair revealed their plans to launch Seven1Sports Group and Entertainment.
The name is a play off their jersey numbers during their careers in the league. McGrady wore No. 1 and O’Neal wore No. 7.
The duo is creating SevenSports1 to support all players, but especially young black athletes. Both McGrady and O’Neal entered the NBA straight out of high school and believe they can use their experiences to inform kids in underserved communities.
“We think it’s needed, and we have a passion for it,” McGrady said. “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.”
“There’s no magic wand for this,” O’Neal said. “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.”
So how did McGrady and O’Neal link up after all these years to devise such a big plan? Both residing in Texas, the coronavirus pandemic gave them time to touch base about how they could help minority athletes. SevenSports1 is where they landed.
O’Neal plans to take the National Basketball Players Association test early next year to become a registered NBA agent. McGrady will serve as co-owner and adviser to players with O’Neal as a partner.
Although they are former players, the agent business is hard to break into and won’t necessarily be an easy road. But they are prepared for the challenge.
“At the end of the day, they can’t get all the players. Obviously it’s going to take us some time to get our feet wet and really understand how this thing works. But we’re not intimidated by anybody. We know there’s going to be a lot of people trying to poke holes into this.”
If McGrady and O’Neal’s careers are any sign of their ability to handle competition, they will be just fine.