Vince Carter has been in the NBA since 1998, and at thirty six years old he continues to play at a high level with the Dallas Mavericks, while he isn’t as spectacular as he was as a Raptor his effectiveness today is without question leaving one to wonder, what legacy will Vince Carter leave when he finally steps off the hardwood.
Firstly, let it be known my stance on Carter’s playing ability. I think he’s a highly effective option for the Dallas Mavericks, and in recent years has adjusted incredibly to his position as both a defender, spot up shooter as well as a mentor for younger players on the roster. While he no longer flies to the rim with reckless abandon every second play, there is no questioning his vertical leap which is still spectacular. At thirty-six years old he’s still a constant threat, and it’s disappointing that he wasn’t able to broadcast his improvements in the playoffs last season.
Nevertheless, while Vince enjoys his twilight seasons with the Mavericks, that’s certainly not what he’ll be remembered by. Vince’s time in Toronto defines his career. “Air Canada’s” early seasons were remarkable. In an NBA without Michael Jordan, Vince Carter mesmerized audiences with his athletic ability, and he was a welcome replacement. After Vince Carter won the Slam Dunk contest he and his cousin Tracy McGrady became house-hold names. Growing up in Canada, Vince Carter jerseys were a regular site and I’d be lying if I said his posters didn’t grace my wall.
That being said for all the good memories I have of Vince in Toronto, there is also a lot of bad. His messy exit didn’t help anything either. Many basketball enthusiasts couldn’t stand Carter after his departure, and ignore his career at this point. However, I think at this point Toronto forgives his exit, especially after Terrence Ross’ homage during last years Slam Dunk Competition. After his departure from Canada Vince spent some of his prime in New Jersey where he eventually acted as captain until he was dealt to the Orlando Magic. Carter played well in Orlando, averaging about 15 points a game, in spite of his solid play Vince was still only second to Dwight Howard. After his season in Orlando, Carter was dealt to the Phoenix suns where he played a forgettable season, before being waived and signed in Dallas.
Vince Carter’s legacy is open. No championships, and limited post-season appearances make him extremely questionable for admittance to the hall of fame, but that doesn’t take away from his spectacular play during his tenure in the NBA. Carter remains an eight time all-star, but his play is still being shadowed by the bad he’s done in the league. Vince Carter is still playing at a high level, and I believe that is his legacy. Hall of fame or not, Vince Carter literally flew through the league and has yet to land. He may be more man than amazing at this stage in his career, but to disregard what he’s done in his time is foolish. Vince Carter deserves to be recognized. His play demands it but in a time where only the amount of rings you’ve won matter, what is a legacy?