Was That Vince Carter's Last Hurrah?
with Sports Leagues around the World Shutting Down Because of the Corona virus a number of aging pro athletes might have played their last game much earlier than expected. One of them is forty three year. Old Vince Carter only NBA player to play in four different decades. This is getting ready to check back in to the band. Get their wish. Hey knows what's going to happen but no more basketball for a while after tonight. This is GonNa go out on the floor today. The Athletics Chris Kirschner joins us to look back at Carter's incredible career from his explosion onto the scene in the late. Nineteen nineties fans base going. That's one of the best to you ever to his complicated relationship with the city of Toronto where he started his career from North Carolina. Six six fifty to his decision to play for the lowly Atlanta Hawks at the end of his career he never wanted to be that fifteenth. Man on the bench shoe would never play in a game if he was going to win a ring he wanted to win it being a contributor and though he likely won't be getting the send-off he deserves will relive what might have been his final moments in the NBA. Carter leaves the Laura Hero from wonder on the athletic. I'm could even Davidson and I'm under SCELZO. It's Friday March twentieth. And this is the lead. It felt like something great was. There is a thing of the because this isn't a story here. The IT stays with the latest supported by light box ever heard of lab grown diamonds lab. Grown diamonds are essentially chemically identical to natural ones just made in a lab at light box. They've hacked the process to grow gorgeous stones every time it starts with a tiny piece of lab grown diamond heated up in a plasma reactor temperatures nearly as hot as the Sun after about two weeks. Those little seeds grown full stones. Now here's where it gets really interesting. Light Boggs lab. 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In fact at sixty eight points and a thirty point nine shooting percentage this mark the worst offensive output in team history. And when Vince really got there that's when basketball took off he. Was you know the High Flyer Half Man? Half AMAZING STACKHOUSE. Tomac rain his nickname. I was Air Canada. Vince was the guy in Toronto. Put up on the Mark King Next door the NBA bids charter school. You really put the rafters on the map and he helped the raptors gets to the playoffs for the first time. What we've seen over the past several years in in the NBA is. We've seen Canadian players. Come into the League in a lot of those guys. Credit Vince for really starting their love of basketball so he was an incredibly important one of the most influential Canadian. Not Canadian born but Canadian players to ever play in not only basketball but sports in general in those early years Vince. Carter had just legendary highlights. Right he won the dunk contest in two thousand. And frankly like if you're a basketball fan in two thousand you could have said we can just cancel all subsequent dunk contest after. Yeah I mean I was eight years old at the time so just watching it. I mean you're you're just inau but even going back now and re watching that performance. It's incredible it's it's arguably the best dunk contests performance that we've ever seen with his. That is a reverse three sixty gets the grade. That is unbelievable. List building just exploded. How fluid he was our mazing. It was to watch fly through the air. It was one of the best moments in all star game history. And and it's something that will live well beyond Vincent career and something that will be talking about for years to come later that year at the Sydney Olympics in a game between the. Us and France. Vince gave us yet. Another highlight reel. He jumped over Frederick Vice and the crash response to a spectacular. Don Trump pitch clock. Just look at this spectacular take-up he jumped over his head. I mean Frederick Vice you gotTa know guys coming it's arguably the best in game dunk ever and I feel like it's it's hard to argue. Otherwise Vince is not a seven footer. He's six six and he jumped literally over the man's head in the Olympics. And it's funny. Because I remember Vince himself was saying that in the moment he had no idea that he actually had jumped over him. I get the ball and I just try to one dribble attack and I'm just trying to be an athlete. This jump up there and in figured out from there so I never actually knew I jumped over him too later on as that's all instinct. Yes land that's nothing that you'd think about. I don't even think I could do something to think about jumping over someone who is as tall as seven feet. It just doesn't seem comprehensible and convince made it look so effortless. And that's exactly what Vince is. Career was when it came to dunks. It was just effortless. Servants was very much on the rise as this explosive and unbelievably entertaining star. But in the two thousand one playoffs his career hit a pivotal moment. Two thousand one. It was their best season with mints. And there is definitely some controversy with that with Vince. Because in those playoffs against Alan Iverson in the Philadelphia. Seventy sixers is seven games. Vince actually on the day of game. Seven went back to North Carolina and walked across the stage. I graduation because it was a promise. He made his mother. There are some people who questioned including some of your teammates. Who questioned your decision to go to North Carolina considering the magnitude of this game. What's your response to that? Criticism of no reports have no common fourth known. Defect matters here. I'm ready to put a lot of people are calling this. The biggest game in Toronto Raptors Franchise History. If you take a step back though and look at it that way. Can You understand that there would be concerned? I don't care. I don't care accomplished Unaccomplished into things in the big the biggest game in commerce the biggest thing in my life and nasty graduate so fast forward a few hours. Vince takes the final shot in game. Seven score and that's really weird. Things started turning for Vincent fans of Toronto because they felt like he probably shouldn't have done that in you know if he didn't go who knows if he makes the shot. I don't know I think it's just a weird situation and I was probably where things started to get a little weird for Vince in Toronto. So the next year. Vince missed the playoffs. Because of knee surgery and the team started to lose a lot of games over the next few years and Vince was reportedly not happy. I asked about this last season and he was kind of kind of brushed it off a little bit but what reportedly happened was he wanted a new start. You know he felt like the rafters were not going on a trajectory. Where they were going to be in playoff contention and he felt like he just didn't fit in the team's plans anymore. So what happened was he just wants a management and you know his agent and an requests it out of Toronto and they decided to trade him to New Jersey for a package that included Alonzo mourning and then things got even dice here with his fans back in Toronto because after he arrived in New Jersey. He did this interview where it almost sounded like he was saying he didn't really go all out for the raptors. Using Vince. Carter has pushed himself as hard as he should have pushed him so in years past. No I was fortunate to have the Taliban be able to. You know you get spoiled when you're able to do a lot of things and you see that and you really don't have to work at it but now I think with so much we all the injuries and the things. I've gone on half the work a little harder and I'm hungry. He was kind of upset that people would actually think that he wasn't trying but his numbers did increase pretty dramatically. You know he was averaging sixteen points per game in Toronto final season and then he goes to New Jersey is averaging over twenty seven but he felt like the nets were using him in ways. That Toronto wasn't that was used in in in Toronto on how used in in in Jersey is totally different. And also I I think people just want to feel that way. Just because yeah. They're they're mad that I left and I understand and I don't have a problem with that well and it's weird to think about this now. But at the time he was a villain in Toronto it was really bad. You know that first game back in in Toronto when he was in New Jersey he was viciously booed for North Carolina. Six Carbon people were wearing baby. Bibs that had number fifteen wheels a wide assortment of signs paraphernalia Vince. Carter Uber's injuries while a raptor the exclude people wearing shirts. That said F you vicious. It definitely got to him because he felt like he grew up there that was his first NBA team and and SOC- that Fan Reaction. It really got some. And those first few seasons when he was with New Jersey the fanciest Vir- fairy very relentless with home security. There are basically two ways you can go about protecting your home. There's the traditional way where you wait weeks for technician to do a messy installation that costs a small fortune. Yikes or. There's the other way our sponsor simply safe for me. The choice was simple because simplisafe is everything you need a home security system outdoor cameras and doorbells alert you to anyone approaching your Entry motion and glass break sensors guard inside. But what's truly remarkable? Is You can set up this system all by yourself. It takes thirty minutes to an hour tops. And you'll have an army of highly trained security experts ready to dispatch police to your home at a moment's notice. 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He goes from the nets to the Magic to the sons to the mavs to the grizzlies. He's booed relentlessly every time he goes back to Toronto with any of these teams and in two thousand fourteen when he's back in Toronto. There's just this amazing moment. When the team honors him with a video tribute harder as received a standing ovation that has brought tears to his eyes they just showed a video tribute of parter on the big screen at first a lot of fans started booing and then they started rising and Chris. Endo the guy that used to call air. Canada has been cheered loudly. And maybe there is some closure awesome. Ac- that reaction because that's when it really started turning into you know him being celebrated once again and just from talking with them for these past two seasons you could sell. How much Toronto means to him. He just loves that city. He's invested in that city. He's done a ton of Kamson Toronto He's tried his best to give back to the Canadian born players who grew up watching him and now to finally see that back in twenty fourteen firms solve. It really meant everything to him because he had finally felt that he was forgiven. And it's hard to pinpoint exactly why Toronto fans forgave him. But do you think this is just a matter of time passing in this case a lot of time passing. Yeah I think so and Toronto. They were starting a new chapter with Kyle lowry and Marta rose. In you know those were Toronto's new guys you know. They became the face of the franchise so I think it was a matter of just them becoming a relevant once again in the NBA. Do you think that Canadian basketball fans just once they were able to kind of. Turn the page with this new guard and with a new look for their team that they were able to really just kind of sit back and evaluate. What Vince Carter meant to basketball in their country? Absolutely because when he got serano there. Were no kids playing in the streets and dribbling basketballs. You didn't see basketball. Hoops on every block or you know people wearing raptors jerseys that really change when you know that team and himself in particular really put basketball on the forefront of people's minds so. I think that was probably a big reason why Canadian fans overtime said you know what? Vince did a lot for Toronto. And this country and it's probably time to turn that page there now. Vince is forty three. He's the only player who has played in four different decades. You've covered him with the hawks where he's been the last couple of years. How is his role different? Now in the League then it was back in his superstar days. Both on and off the court. Yeah I mean on the Court. Obviously due to his age and physical limitations. He's not dunking the ball anymore. It's a rare treat to see Vince. Dunk is he doesn't in warm ups like he still has it but in Game Situation. It's just rare so on on the court you know he's more so just become a three point specialist off the court. He's the father figure in the locker room. He's the guy that the rookies wants to turn to and yet as much advice and as much wisdom as they possibly can. That's what it's all about just sharpening the minds and opening new ideas and opportunities for them and be tough on them and just get them ready. Do Best I can. He loves when the rookies and second year third year players asking questions because he wants to impart what he learned throughout his entire journey into the new age like he wants his experiences to live through them. And especially with this hawks team. It's really really young roster and he's pretty much an extension of the coaching staff for the Hawks. He's the one showing is how to properly position their feet when they're shooting threes. He's the one telling. Trae young how to navigate the media and how to navigate becoming a superstar in the league like he loves that and. I think it's rare to have someone Vince who's obviously going to be a future hall of. Famer. WanNa take time out of his day to to make the next generation as good as he possibly can in perhaps one of the more poetic moments that we've seen in a in a superstars late career. Vince did throw down a dunk To pass the twenty five thousand point threshold last year Bitch. Fires back to at best. Buy Welcome to the Pantheon. The greatest stores there was awesome and it happened against the raptors to you know just being at that game you could sell that. He really really wanted to get the twenty five thousand points against the raptors. I'm happy I'm thankful for this opportunity to a very elite group. I mean I don't care if famer not I'm in a group where when you talk about storing it's not many can say they have this many points so man I'm thankful the raptors were. They understood what was going on. So they kind of you know docked off a little bit on defense specially when he drove down the lane and then got that dunk and got his twenty-five thousand point a understood the moment so that was really cool to see because again like this is a guy who's an icon and in raptors history and so watch the current iteration of the raptors. Do that for advance. It was really special to be there because you could tell how much respect Vince has. And that's probably the coolest part of these past two seasons you go to any arena. Detroit the guys in the Pistons Locker Room. Just have an immense amount of respect for Vince. He was one of the guys. They looked up to when they were younger. And so just watch the smile on their face and see dairy action to getting to play him. It's awesome and that's something again. That's that's part of Vincent's legacy just how beloved he became especially in this latter half of his career. So there are a couple of unique aspects to the final years of Vincent Career and one is that he never chased the ring right like he never demanded to go to a contender to get a championship. You know he agreed to sign and resign with Atlanta which. Let's be honest as a lottery bounty him. Why do you think Vince? Carter was not obsessed with getting a championship. That was one of the first questions I asked Vince. When he first signed with Atlanta you know I asked him like. You're bound for the hall of fame. You don't have a championship. You haven't really come close to winning a championship. He's never played an NBA finals game. Why go this Y sign with a team like Atlanta. And he said that's just not part of his DNA. I Ki- never wanted to be that fifteenth. Man on the bench shoe would never play in a game if he was going to win a ring he wanted to win it. Being a contributor won't so Vince Carter might not have gotten the send off that he expected or deserved but it certainly was beautiful. Can you walk us through? What might have been his final and be game last Wednesday so the NBA announced the suspension of the season. It was in the fourth order. Is the tonight that it is respected. It's not that detail. It took me like fifteen ish minutes after that to realize that this is probably Vince. Carter's final game so the fans. I think when the fans saw that the NBA announced that the season was going to be suspended. A lot of them were chanting. We want Vince Vince. Vince because they figure that you know this was probably going to be the final time that they saw him on an MBA floor. I ran down to the hawks bench because I figured that something was GonNa Happen within my saw. His teammates trying to push toward the scores table. And and Vince is not one of those guys who really likes all the attention so he was trying to avoid it but you know it got overwhelming at some points and after a while. He just gave in to his teammates and void pierced. The hawks head coach Chuck Vinson with a one thousand nine seconds left on the clock. They gotta give it. He's got to take a three. Picks are applauded. York triples out the final seconds. Vince Carter leaves the Laura Heroes and he got pretty emotional. After the game he talked for about twenty ish minutes in a post game press conference and if this was the end of it he was going to be fine with it he. He said himself that he was at peace on one. One a appreciative do my time and just walk out the doors. Okay with me. You know believing but He's cool believe Nice. I just when I asked him about you know if he had any family in attendance because this was likely the final game. That's when he actually started getting emotional because he only had one of his friends there now on board who I made his children were there so that part was really difficult. Because you know they're probably not going to have another opportunity to see him you know playing an NBA game. So I think that part was the part that really got some. It didn't matter that you know. His final fifteen games weren't going to be played. It was just the fact that he didn't really have any family there and I think that's what he wanted the most. How do you think Vince? Carter will be remembered by basketball fans. What's his legacy? I think he is probably best in game dunker. We have seen and it's unfortunate though that that's his legacy because those first few seasons and Serano you could see him becoming one of the game's greatest players. There was a time where it was looking like. Vince was going to be one of those next all time. Just legends and those knee injuries really set him back and he never really reached his full potential. You know he pete's very very early and and for over a decade now like he's been a six man and journeyman like we spoke of and it's unfortunate because it's also career where you look back on and say you know what could have been if he if he didn't have these injuries. The players talk about looking up to Michael Jordan and looking up to Kobe Bryant. Lebron James Vince Carter. At one point he was the guy you wanted to emulate in your yard or he was the guy who wanted to emulate on the streets. I grew up in the Bronx and not a lot of greenspace in the Bronx. But whenever there was a hoop you wanted to try and throw down a dunk between your legs. Because Vince Carter was doing that he was the guy you wanted to to be like when you were older in for my age. I'm twenty seven and a lot of these kids in the NBA. My Age and even younger like he was the guy who was the definition of cool. Thanks much Chris Thank you. You can follow Chris. Kirschner coverage of the Atlanta Hawks at the athletic dot com. Here are some other stories. Were following the lead New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean. Payton has tested positive for the corona virus becoming the first confirmed case in the NFL. Payton said he's fatigued but didn't suffer any respiratory issues. He self quarantined at home and says he's looking forward to a full recovery. Payton also said that. He decided to come forward with his diagnosis so that others will take government warnings about the virus seriously. Meanwhile Boston Celtics Guard. Marcus smart to Lakers players three members of the seventy sixers organization and a member of the Denver Nuggets Organization have all tested positive as well in a bit of a surprise move the Los Angeles Rams released pro bowl running back todd on Thursday girly has been the centerpiece of the rams offense ever since he was drafted number. Ten overall in two thousand fifteen rushing for fifty eight touchdowns which tied the legendary Marshall Fox all time Franchise Record. He was also a key member of the two thousand eighteen rams team that made it to the Super Bowl but injuries did slow down. Early last year girly has had a good attitude about it. Although tweeden quote damn got fired on my day off Hashtag quarantine and chill and finally as if it weren't bad enough for Boston Red Sox fans who just superstar mookie Betts traded to the dodgers. The team announced Thursday. That left-hander Chris Sale will have Tommy John Surgery and missed. The season sale has a career. Three point zero three era but is coming off one of his worst years where he went six and eleven with a four point. Four era in twenty five starts. Of course we still don't know when or if there will be a season as the corona virus pandemic continues to rock the sports world. That's it for the week. Everyone thanks for listening. Our producers are Caitlyn. Plummer Chris Siegel and Chris Colin Editing and production by senior producers Lee Hernandez and Matt strope fact checking and writing by an Hurley. Sound Design and mixing by Weidong Lynn. Aaron May and Joe Richardson. Our theme song is composed by Lindsey Graham. The executive producer of the lead is under scelzo. Our editorial director is me the Davidson. Our Show is executive produced by Lea Hernandez Marshal Louis an airman Lopez for wondering from wondering the athletic. I'm Cathy Davidson. And I'M UNDERSCO. Stay safe and we'll see you next week