Tracy McGrady explains why he called Glenn Robinson ‘Puppy Dog’ in 2001 playoffs
It has been more than 18 years since the 2001 first round showdown between Tracy McGrady’s Orlando Magic and Glenn Robinson’s Milwaukee Bucks. That series is infamous for the trash talk McGrady laid down on Robinson when he referred to him as ‘Puppy Dog’ on the court.
On Thursday, McGrady joined The Jump on ESPN with Rachel Nichols and Jackie MacMullan to discuss, among other things, his beef with Robinson.
“Well, let’s not get it twisted,” McGrady said. “Glenn Robinson was a hell of a player, one of the best mid-range shooters then. I was 21 years old, my first playoff experience with the Magic and I shut him down. I took pride in that. And, y’know, they was calling him Big Dog. Big Dog this, Big Dog that – it was Puppy Dog, in that series. I was so disrespectful, but nah, he was tough. I had mad respect for him, but not just in that series.”
The series was already chippy before Tracy McGrady and Glenn Robinson went at it. Even then-Bucks coach George Karl and then-Magic coach Doc Rivers were getting involved. But it reached its peak in Game 3, with Orlando down 0-2 in the best of five series.
While guarding Robinson, who had earned the nickname ‘Big Dog’ for his aggressive style of play, McGrady started to trash talk the Bucks star. The two went back and forth, but ultimately McGrady came out on top. He scored 42 points and led Orlando to a Game 3 win.
Unfortunately, McGrady’s victory was short-lived. Robinson and the Bucks won Game 4 and eliminated the Magic from the postseason.
Robinson and McGrady were two of the best players in the game at the time, but ultimately McGrady put together the better career. The Hall of Fame guard received seven All-Star nods over his 15-seasons in the NBA. He will always be remembered for standing up to the Big Dog in the 2001 playoffs though.