LAKELAND — Current pro basketball players, former local standouts, including the recently drafted Dwayne Bacon, and even one NFL player will be in town as part of The Official Tracy McGrady Hall of Fame Weekend.
The event begins Friday and runs through Sunday. It includes an entrepreneurship discussion, a NBA 2K17 video game tournament and an indoor adult 5-on-5 basketball tournament.
The basketball tournament has been happening for more than a decade. The winning team will receive $10,000.
McGrady added to his annual event this year as he’ll also be doing an Entrepreneurship Chalk Talk that will take place at 11:30 a.m. to to 1 p.m. on Friday at the Auburndale Community Center. It will be a panel discussion that will include McGrady, George Tinsley Sr., Polk County Commissioner Melony Bell, businessman Corey Tumer, Auburndale City Manager Bobby Green, Auburndale basketball coach and community center supervisor Eric Robinson and Southeastern men’s basketball coach R-Jay Barsh. The event will be moderated by James Taylor, who starred at Haines City and graduated in 2000. He is CEO of Taylored Athletes and was an Empact100 Top 30 Entrepreneur Age 30 and Under recipient, and was honored in 2011 at the White House.
“Tracy is in a different part of his career,” said Brandon Giles, whose Brandon Giles Consulting is coordinating the weekend events. “He’s not just an athlete. He’s a businessman. He wants to empower people and give back to the community.”
The basketball tournament begins at 6 p.m. Friday night at Auburndale High School. Most of the competition will be held at Auburndale High, but there also will be three games on Friday and three more on Sunday at the Auburndale Community Center. All of Saturday’s games will be at the high school.
Fourteen teams are playing in the tournament, including three teams from Polk County, and the championship game will be 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Giles said many teams remain tight-lipped on who will be on their team until they get to town, but there are some familiar names including Bacon. The Florida State star from Lakeland, who played at McKeel as a sophomore, was drafted in the second round by the New Orleans Pelicans and promptly traded to Charlotte. The Hornets signed him to a contract earlier this month.
Other NBA players include Montrezl Harrell of the Los Angeles Clippers and two-time Mr. Basketball winner Brandon Knight of the Phoenix Suns. Among the local players are Kevin Capers, who starred at Lake Wales and Florida Southern, and his brother Marcus, who played at Lake Region. Lake Wales’ Brandon Robinson and Marcel White and Auburndale’s Paul Cooper and P.J. Turner are also slated to compete.
Other standouts from outside the area competing include Darius Washington, a 2004 Florida Mr. Basketball winner, who played at Orlando Edgewater and in college at Memphis, former UCF star Keith Clayton and former Florida Gators star Kenny Boynton.
The gaming tournament will raise money for the upcoming STIX to GLORY Scholarship Gaming Tournament that the Tracy McGrady Foundation will be hosting in the upcoming school year.
The events are open to the public. Tickets for the entrepreneur talk are $20 and can be purchased in advance at www.entrepreneurshipchalktalk.com.
Tickets for the basketball tournament are $5 for adults.