Vince Carter's NBA Legacy
I just watched a Youtube clip featuring Vince Carter slipping on a banana peel against the Charlotte Bobcats during a cross over move. I do not know what to make of it. He could have stepped on a wet spot. Yep, that’s what it was; a wet spot. Got it. I’m also taking it as a sign to think about his career. The high flying explosive Vince Carter disappeared after 2008 and currently does not live here.
Vince Carter is the best dunker that the NBA has ever seen. Yep, better than Michael Jordan and Julius Erving. If you disagree, you need to be pimp slapped by nightfall under the bridge near the clock tower where Carter’s explosive hops retired. I thought he was truly coming after the title of Michael Jordan’s Second Coming early in his career as he threw down one nasty dunk after another. Carter put up the all around numbers to back the dunks up, bald head, and North Carolina Tar Heel thing, too.
Kobe did not throw down like that. Michael Jordan’s dunks were graceful rather than straight up “Oh shit! Wow!” that Vince goes for. This dude did not just do that. Does he know that this is an NBA game and not a dunk contest? Wow. His leaping ability was mind blowing stuff. The 2000 Dunk Contest is the stuff of legend. He took it to another level that we have never seen before. Putting my wrist through the rim? Check. Reverse 360 windmill? Check. Off the bounce from a teammate between the legs? Done. Windmill coming from underneath the basket? Easy.
You had to wonder what dunk he could NOT do. There is one - 360 between the legs. No NBA player has done that in a game or dunk contest. Carter did have the chance to do it, but he is passed his prime now.
Analyze his game. He actually had the tools – jump shot, three point shot, leaping ability, athleticism, handles, fade away, rebounding, passing, explosive, high basketball IQ.
However, there are weaknesses to every player. The lack of a killer instinct is his problem, which is the defining quality that truly separates the talented players from the all time greats. The players today have this problem. Can anybody explain to me why?
This is where it all unraveled for Vince Carter. I can’t tell you definitively if he quit on Toronto before he got traded. I remember seeing some games during the last two Toronto Raptors seasons. Carter definitely did not play hard like he usually does. He was protesting about something laughing it up while on the bench. I know what I saw. When the murmurs started coming out to the press about backstage politics with Sam Mitchell and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president Richard Peddie, that’s when it was over.
Did he quit? I don’t know. Only Vince Carter can answer that with the basketball Gods.
The time is now to think about something else since his career is winding down. Despite the “quitter” allegations, is Vince Carter a hall of famer? Yep, absolutely. I just don’t think he is a first ballot Hall of Famer. Through 925 games (and counting), his averages are 22.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.2 steals. The numbers are not bad, but they’re not spectacular either.
This is where the 2000 Dunk Contest and his dunks saved him. If he never had that, would you talk about him right now? Think about it. Carter never won league MVP, never been to the Finals, and has never made All NBA First team or any All NBA defense teams. VC had the talent to accomplish those goals. The only reasons why he was the leading All Star vote getter all those years are simple: outrageous dunks and ending Frederic Weis' career.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
Did Vince push himself to the fullest? Nope. He confirmed that by saying, "In years past, no. I was fortunate to have the talent. You get spoiled when you're able to do a lot of things. You see that you don't have to work at it."
[image - Fernando Medina]