McGrady discovered the difference in that out-of-the-blue phone call from Spurs coach and president of basketball Gregg Popovich in mid-April.
“A lot of people in the past would tell me one thing, but their actions don't speak what their words were telling me,” he said. “I had a very transparent conversation with Pop. I understood the situation and respected that. It was a great thing, and it was up to me to take that opportunity.
“He said, 'I might play you; I might not, and I need to know if you're cool with that.'
“For him to put that out on Front Street in our first conversation, I said, 'Pop, I'm cool with that. I understand. If called on, I'll be ready; if not, I'll support the guys while I'm here.'”
Eight pounds lighter than the day he reported to the Spurs, McGrady believes his conditioning level will allow for some quality minutes, if asked. If not, he will enjoy the ride and relish any role Popovich gives him.
“This is a promotion for me,” he said. “For so many years, I tried to compete and take a team out of the first round. It just didn't happen. Now it's possible I can be a champion before I leave this game. Even though it won't be the type of role I would like, I will still be a part of something.” McGrady 'cool' with role and all that buzz - San Antonio Express-News