NBA Wife Spotlight: CleRenda McGrady
Intelligence and undeniable beauty are two attributes that are obvious to anyone that meets CleRenda McGrady. Converse with her briefly, and I’m sure you’ll soon learn that this articulate woman with a gentle spirit is a devoted wife and mother of four. Dig a little deeper, and a strong woman of faith who has a heart to serve, shines through. As the recent guest speaker for the Women of Favor Marriage Conference in Houston, TX, CleRenda had a chance to share her wisdom and experience on the subject of maintaining a healthy marriage… after all, she’s been married to 7-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady for six years. Find out why this accomplished life coach and owner of ReNew Christian Counseling organized a prayer conference call for hundreds of NBA and NFL wives. Also, learn what a typical day is like in the life of this North Carolina native and, what she’s doing to pursue her passion, helping others through the power of Christ.
MirraMirror: CleRenda, where did you grow up?
MM: What is your educational background?
CM:I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders from North Carolina State University, a Master’s in Education form North Carolina Central University, and I’m currently working on my PhD in Christian Counseling.
MM: How long have you and Tracy been married?
CM: Six years…and we have four children…Layla (8), Laymen (5), Laycee (3), and Layden (2).
MM: How did you and Tracy meet?
CM: While I was in school, I worked full time at a car dealership. He and a few friends came in to look at cars and things slowly grew from that point.
MM: How did Tracy propose?
CM: A beautiful candlelit dinner in the backyard of his home! Roses, violin playing…the works! It was a total surprise. I thought we were celebrating because the (NBA) season was just ending and it was a pretty good season for him.
MM: What’s a typical day like for you?
CM: Whhhhewww! A “typical” day is not so typical! I get up every morning….pray, workout, wake the kids up for school, cook breakfast, and take two of the four to school. Once I get back, I hang out with the younger two, find time to get some studying and reading in for school, as well as work on my business plan…I’m working on a new office for counseling. Once my kids get in from school, I like to hang out with them some and then I jump right into their homework. They often get frustrated because even if the teacher doesn’t assign work, I give my own homework! That’s never a hit with them, but oh well…got to keep ‘em on their toes!
MM: How does Tracy being traded affect your family?
CM: Wow…the biggest issue is the adjustment in everyone’s schedule. We have been so fortunate for the bulk of Tracy’s career because he was playing here in Houston, which has been our home. So, when things shifted and he was traded to New York, that was so foreign to the kids and me. We were used to having him home! It was a big adjustment. Of course, we had to tailor our home schedules to coincide with my husband’s which meant frequent and regular trips to see him. My kids and I have never moved to any of the cities he has been traded to because the contracts have been very short and it wasn’t worth uprooting the kids from their home and school to move away for a year or less. Therefore, I would travel at least every two weeks to see him. Some of those times would be with or without the kids. Of course, ideally, we would love to have been all in the same city. However, once school age kids are in the picture, mixed with contracts that are short in length, decisions have to be made that provide for the most stability for the family as a whole.
CM: I was watching one of those entertainment news channels and the two hosts of the show were basically “dogging” the marriage union of athletes and their wives. It saddened me to listen to them ridicule, undermine, and “clown” our marriages, our commitments, and our motives. They freely laughed and mocked us as though what we work just as hard as the next man for, didn’t matter. They took joy in taking jabs at the idea that as long as wives had a certain lifestyle, that we blindly turn our eyes away from the adulterous lives of our husbands! Basically putting ALL athletes in the category of whoremongers and the wives in the category of pitiful, mindless, gold diggers who willfully sell their souls for the almighty dollar. I was offended…offended from their disrespect, false assumptions, and ignorant opinions! Assumptions and opinions they wouldn’t have dared felt so freely to broadcast in the presence of any other wife in such a disrespectful manner had it been any other profession.
I’m not in denial saying that the lifestyle can’t wreak havoc and the good intentions of so many great men are lost in the abyss of such access and excess that drowns the culture. Sure…infidelity happens…just like it happens in the lives of the teacher, the banker, the salesman, the doctor, the pest control man, as well as the TV news host! But, fortunately for those homes, those incidents don’t make headline news or are the brunt of crass jokes. My issue stemmed from the direct disrespect of unfortunate and misleading stereotypes that plague our marriages. Therefore, since we are called to edify and encourage one another, I just felt the urge and the need to do the only thing that truly yields any longterm results – pray!! Of course, then get in, roll up our sleeves and do our part! (for the person that questioned me on relying only on prayer) I thought it would be beneficial for the wives to join together and lift our husbands, families, and marriages up in prayer to combat what the enemy is seeking so desperately to do…which is kill, steal, and destroy. In this case, kill our hopes, steal our peace and joy, and destroy our marriages!
MM: What is your secret to having a successful NBA marriage?
CM: My “successful NBA marriage” is a work in progress! While we both have work to put in, I am joyful in knowing the progress that our marriage has made and constantly makes. Everything from communication to unrealistic expectations and role fulfillment has changed for the better. The secret…which isn’t really a secret…has been shifting my expectations. Once I put all my expectations on Christ and made my own personal internal changes, I changed… which has inevitably made my husband and marriage change.
MM: Are you and Tracy involved with any charities?
CM: Yes…the Tracy McGrady Foundation is geared towards encouraging and enriching literacy in our youth. Most recently, we worked on a Thanksgiving project for the community.
MM: Do you have any business ventures or other projects in the works?
CM: Yes, my company, ReNew Christian Counseling. ( Website coming soon!) I work mostly with women and issues that plague them from having peace. We work on changing our perspectives so we are able to control whatever crisis we may have in our lives, so that the crisis does not control us.
CM: Well, recently, we just pulled out my old yearbooks from high school and had a blast looking at old pictures and reading all the notes from friends at the end of the book! That was too funny! We are supposed to be taking a basic art class together this week…we’ll see how long he lasts with that one! As far as family time…we enjoy watching movies together, watching our kids “put on shows,” playing dodge ball or anything that allows us the opportunity to all be together without any major distractions.
My brother, Clevell Harris is a local artist here in Houston! He does fabulous paintings and graphic design work here and nationwide.
Favorite beauty products?
I love Black Out mascara by Dior and Nude Lip Glace’ by Laura Mercier. Also, my girlfriend has a makeup line called Skin Liqueur and I love her things! My favorite glosses that I must have are Blossom and Go Bare! Her stuff is definitely hot!
Favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere sunny and beachy…not too remote though! I don’t like it to be too quiet.
Favorite NBA city?
I’ll go against the grain and say Salt Lake City, Utah!