It didn’t take Carter long to develop his brand, either. Fresh off his Rookie of the Year campaign in 1999, Vinsanity went global at the 2000 Olympics.
Yes, that’s excitement over Vince Carter in foreign dialect, and one the greatest dunks of all time. He truly was “InVincible.” After the 2000 Olympics Carter terrorized NBA post defenders for years to come. Making enemies out of all the greats: Dikembe Mutombo, Yao Ming, and famously, Alonzo Morning.
As Carter’s career has sadly transitioned into its twilight years, it’s always fun to remember all of the great nostalgic highlights he spoiled us with. He wasn’t just a dunk machine, he was an assassin. Carter didn’t just make his living off his high-flying act, he produced game-winner after game-winner after game-winner throughout all stages of his career.
And despite not winning any championships, he still has quite the resumè. Half-man, Half-amazing currently ranks 30th on the all-time points list (21,670) and will likely soon pass Larry Bird, Gary Payton and Clyde Drexler before he retires. If/When Carter eclipses the 22,000 point mark, he’ll be one of 14 players in NBA/ABA history to total 22,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists. 11 of those 14 players are in the Hall of Fame, and the other three are Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant. Couple that with his other accolades: 12th all-time in 3-point field goals (and climbing), NBA Rookie of the Year, a two-time All-NBA winner and an eight-time All-Star. He fell just two games short of carrying the 2000-01 Raptors (I repeat, the Raptors) to the NBA Finals and unanimously owns the greatest Slam Dunk Contest of all-time. I’ll let the footage speak for itself.
It’s never been the stats or accolades that have led many to question Carter’s HOF worthiness. It’s been all the other stuff. His perception as an oft-injured (and soft) player, his postseason flops and the horrific way he pushed his way out of Toronto, a city that truly cherished him. It looked like that might be enough a year ago to keep him out, but as Carter continues to reinvent himself as a productive two-way player in Dallas – 12.4 ppg and 4 rpg off the bench – and a player Rick Carlisle frequently runs his late-game offense through, the answer may someday surprise you.
Happy birthday, Vince.
Ben Baroff is an aspiring sports journalist and marketing professional who blogs and writes columns for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.