*Retirement was in the air Monday, as two veterans in their respective sports announce the end of their playing careers.
Leaving open the door to play overseas, seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady says he is retiring from the NBA.
“It’s been 16 years playing the game I love. I’ve had a great run, but it’s time for it to come to an end,” McGrady said on ESPN’s “First Take.”
McGrady averaged 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in a career that started in 1997, when he was drafted out of high school. He signed with the San Antonio Spurs in April after working his way back from injuries but never got on the floor for a team that made a run to the Finals.
McGrady told “First Take” that he still thinks he can play and was disappointed not to get a chance to help San Antonio.
“When we were in the Finals and Manu [Ginobili] was struggling, I felt I could contribute, absolutely,” McGrady said.
He acknowledged, however, that Spurs management told him that he was an insurance policy and likely wouldn’t play.
Asked to clarify whether he is considering playing in China, McGrady said: “Officially retired from the NBA. Door’s still open.” [Watch below.]
Meanwhile, a tearful James Blake announced Monday that he will retire from tennis following the US Open, ending a 14-year professional run.
“No real surprise here. This is my last tournament,” Blake, 33, said at a news conference during the opening day of action at Flushing Meadows.
“I always wanted to end my career at the US Open,” the American added.
Blake, who attended Harvard before turning pro in 1999, reached a career-high ranking of No. 4 in 2006. He is currently 100th and carries a 9-13 season record into his first-round match against Ivo Karlovic.
Blake reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals, including two in New York, losing at that stage to Andre Agassi in 2005 and to Roger Federer in 2006. He mentioned that five-set defeat against Agassi as a match that stands out as a highlight and lowlight of his time on tour.
Blake’s announcement comes a year after friend and former U.S. Davis Cup teammate Andy Roddick retired after the US Open.
“Despite the tears, I’m actually really happy about this,” said Blake, noting that he looks forward to spending more time with his wife and their 1-year-old daughter.
Asked about what he would like to do in the future, Blake mentioned two possibilities: serving as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team and working as a television commentator.
[Watch Blake's retirement speech below.]