Saturday , Dec , 26 , 2009 Oly Sandor

How Vince Carter ends ‘The Love and Hate’ with Orlando Magic

When he entered the league it was all love, with Carter – fair or not – drawing comparisons to the great Michael Jordan. With athleticism and charm, the swing enjoyed unprecedented popularity on-and-off court, quickly becoming the face of the NBA. The public’s opinion of Carter suddenly shifted from love to hate. Towards the end of his run in Toronto, he dogged it, faking injuries, forcing a trade, and, worst of all, admitting he didn’t always try for the Raptors …


How Vince Carter ends 'The Love and Hate' with Orlando MagicLike Radio Raheem’s rings in Do The Right Thing, NBA fans have a love-hate relationship with Vince Carter.

When he entered the league it was all love, with Carter – fair or not – drawing comparisons to the great Michael Jordan. With athleticism and charm, the swing enjoyed unprecedented popularity on-and-off court, quickly becoming the face of the NBA.  

The public’s opinion of Carter suddenly shifted from love to hate. Towards the end of his run in Toronto, he faked injuries, forced a trade, and, worst of all, admitted he didn’t always try. There were moments with the New Jersey Nets, but ‘The Big Three’ of Carter, Richard Jefferson, and Jason Kidd never reached their potential in a weak Eastern Conference.

It was clear: Carter was no Jordan. He had been exposed. And fans never forgave him for falling short of expectations.

Years later, the love-hate stigma has faded. There is less hype and hoopla, too. Today, Carter is a former All-Star, elder statesman, and vital cog in the Orlando Magic’s quest for their first NBA championship.

Carter, who was traded from New Jersey to Orlando in the off-season, has had mixed results in Disney World. As a supporting piece, the drop in scoring was expected –Carter is averaging 19 points per game, which is down from his career average of 24.

The real worry is his shooting. Carter is currently converting less than forty percent of attempts from the field and – if you exclude six consecutive games of chipping-in with 20 points or more in mid-to-late November – his play has been inconsistent.

The Christmas Day game has brought hope. Instead of settling for fadeaways and jump shots, Carter used his athleticism to attack the Boston Celtics’ stingy defense and ended up with 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting.

For instance, in the final minute of the fourth quarter, Carter drove hard to the right, attracted several Celtics and swung a cross-court, bullet pass to Rashard Lewis, who calmly sank a corner three-pointer.        

Sure, the Magic lost the game, but his aggressive and active play was a positive. And it must continue if Orlando hopes to contend and if Carter hopes to make peace with his past.

(‘Radio’ Raheem describing the love and hate. )

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