Former Orlando Magic star Tracy McGrady never feels particularly blessed when he reviews his NBA playoff resume'. Then, on a Sunday in April, he was leaving a church in Houston when he got a call on his cell phone.

It was San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

The NBA works in mysterious ways.

Pop offered T-Mac a contract, and now the player criticized as a postseason failure has a chance to win a ring with the Spurs.

Of course, this development arrives as more of a footnote than a fairy tale.

McGrady once carried teams, especially in his Magic heydays and later in Houston. But now he's merely hitching a ride with the four-time champs at age 34 as a bench player, or "an insurance policy," to quote Popovich.

"It's good to be experiencing this before I leave the game, although it's not under the circumstances I would like. I've been enjoying it," McGrady told the media recently.

McGrady won two scoring titles in Orlando but left in an ugly divorce. He was derided (often unfairly) by former GM John Weisbrod and critics for being immature and selfish, labeled "Me-Mac."

So cue the irony: Here's the league's most team-oriented franchise, the Spurs, taking him on, affording him a chance to wrap a bow around a career derailed by injuries the last five years. McGrady resorted to playing in China after no other club signed him this season.

"I don't think any of us expected it this way," T-Mac said. "But some of us are dealt different cards. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't blessed to play with other All-Stars, other great players. A lot of people don't realize it, but I was only able to play with only one All-Star. And that was Yao (Ming).

"I didn't play with no (healthy) All-Star my whole career. Didn't have one in Orlando. Yao was in and out with injuries. You see some of these guys today with two or three Hall of Famers on one team. I didn't have that."

McGrady is right: He never had the luxury that the Big Threes in San Antonio and Miami enjoy.

Hard to believe, but Grant Hill retired last week at 40. Hill was healthy six of his last seven seasons, but not when he and T-Mac were teamed together for four seasons in Orlando, beginning in the summer of 2000.