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NBA hopeful signs $12 million deal with Adidas

June 19, 1997 GMT

AUBURNDALE, Fla. (AP) _ 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.

McGrady, barely out of Mount Zion Academy in Durham, N.C., signed an endorsement deal with Adidas.

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

McGrady, who has worked out for 10 teams, spent the weekend in Los Angeles exhibiting his talent for the Lakers. Then he flew to Indiana for a similar workout with coach Larry Bird’s Pacers.

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Sandwiched between his 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 Vaccaro, a director of sports marketing with Adidas, said the deal was worth up to $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. Vaccaro said those duties probably won’t begin until the second year of the contract.

At Mount Zion last season, McGrady averaged 27.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. 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 picked in the first round in the last three years. Kevin Garnett was chosen by Minnesota two years ago. Last year, Kobe Bryant was selected by the Lakers and Jermaine O’Neal by Portland. Bryant and O’Neal also have deals with Adidas.