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A showman, a yeller, charismatic, and a master debater are all terms that describe ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith.

But did you know that he’s also a trade sabotager? Yup, that’s right. Before he was getting paid the big bucks at ESPN to debate Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim daily, he was a beat writer in Philadephia for the 76ers in the late 1990s. At the time, the most polarizing player in the league was Allen Iverson, who served as the subject for plenty of Smith’s stories. Like any good writer, he had inside information, including potential trades. One trade that he got wind of was one that would see Iverson and Tracy McGrady on the 76ers together.

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In 2001, Iverson somehow made it to the NBA Finals and gave fans the iconic stepover, but he was only able to will his team to one win as the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers nearly swept them in 5 games. If he’d had a backcourt partner like T-Mac, that series could have got differently.

The Toronto Raptors were prepared to send McGrady –just before T-Mac’s free agency started at the end of the 1999-2000 season–and a first-round pick to Philly in exchange for Larry Hughes. Smith got wind of the pending trade, wrote about it and the Raptors got a bit timid and called the trade off.

The story was tweeted out by Denver rapper Trev Rich over the weekend, and to everyone’s surprise, was confirmed by Smith with a simple, “Yes, this is true” attached.

If the two teamed up, we would have scarily gotten to see a 24-year-old Allen Iverson and a 20-year-old T-Mac grow together. At the end of his stint with Toronto, McGrady would take his talents to the Orlando Magic instead.

Thanks For Nothing: How Stephen A. Smith Stopped Allen Iverson & Tracy McGrady From Teaming Up  was originally published on cassiuslife.com

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