McGrady was born on May 24, 1979, in Bartow, Florida, to Melanise Williford. His father was not a part of his everyday life, so Melanise raised McGrady with the help of her mother, Roberta, in Auburndale. As a youth, McGrady played high school basketball and baseball at Auburndale High School for three years before transferring to Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, North Carolina for his senior season. A relatively unknown player coming out of Florida, he made a name for himself after a strong performance at the Adidas ABCD Camp, an experience that helped McGrady recognize his true talent. He later reflected, "Nobody had a clue who Tracy McGrady was. Sonny Vaccaro gave me that platform, and I played against the best players in the world at that time. I left that camp the No. 1 player in the nation, 175 to No. 1. " Behind his leadership, Mt. Zion emerged as the number two-ranked team in the country, and McGrady was named a McDonald’s All-American, national Player of the Year by USA Today, and North Carolina's Mr. Basketball by the Associated Press. Initially, McGrady considered playing college basketball at the University of Kentucky, but he ultimately decided to enter the NBA draft as he was a projected lottery pick.