April 1996: Darrell Walker clashes with Tracy McGrady
"Darrell knows how to win and he knows how to prepare this team to play at a championship level"
– Byron Scott on the hiring of Walker as Hornets assistant coach (21/07/04)
“Bryon Scott is out of his fucking mind”
–The Blue Baller, on Byron Scott on the hiring of Walker as Hornets assistant coach (02/10/06)
The 1996-97 season proved to be a critical point in the careers of two young Raptors: Tracy McGrady, the promising 18-year old high-school draft pick, and coach Darrell Walker, the 2nd youngest coach in the league. The magical mentor-pupil relationship the front-office envisioned between the two quickly turned into a one-sided flogging, as Walker publicly scolded the youngster’s work ethic, claiming McGrady was “too cool” to work hard and would be out of the league in three years. Let’s take a look at what happened next…
10 years later, the only thing lazy about Tracy McGrady is his left eye; the superstar swingman has won the NBA scoring title twice, been voted an NBA All-Star 6-times, and been selected All-NBA 5-times. He just turned 27 years old.
Walker, as fate would have it, was the one out of NBA head coaching in two years. Isiah Thomas’ then hand-puppet would leave the Raptors with a 41-90 record, go on to coach the CBA’s Rockford Lightning to a 13-17 record, and then coach the Washington Wizards to a 15-23 record. After his stint with the Wizards, Walker became Michael Jordan’s new hand puppet, joining the team’s front office. It is at this point where Darrell Walker truly made his mark on NBA history: as the first person ever to be called down to coach a team. In 2000, the now Director of Player Personnel joined the Wizard’s WNBA sister team, the Washington Mystics, as interim head coach. He finished the season with a 14-18 record.