While the NBA is set to restart, Vince Carter‘s career is over.
The NBA Board of Governors has approved a 22-team format to continue its season.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 4, 2020
Over 22 seasons, Carter collected a number of accolades, including eight All-Star selections from 2000-2007.
However, his greatest accomplishment was putting Toronto Raptors basketball on the map.
Toronto drafted Carter with the 5th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft and his impact was felt immediately.
Dan Adler detailed Carter’s impact on Canada in a story for Vanity Fair in 2018 which focused on The Carter Effect, a documentary that focused on Carter’s time with the Raptors organization.
Carter was the N.B.A.’s Rookie of the Year in 1999 and led the Raptors to their first post-season appearance the next season, but the fact of his talent is almost incidental here. It was his swaggering, acrobatic style… Carter’s showmanship and charisma — the celebrations of the dunks as much as the dunks themselves — amounted to an identity as much as a nickname: Air Canada.”
Air Canada was never more on display than in the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest, a Carter victory that still stands as arguably the greatest dunk contest performance in league history.
In a story for The Undefeated, Soraya Nadia McDonald revealed how Carter’s impact was monumental in Toronto, so much so that musical megastar Drake pleaded for Carter to return “home” for his final season in the NBA.
“It would be amazing, hopefully, for Vince to give us one last chance to not just give him a standing ovation for one night or two nights out of the year,” Drake said.
In a sit-down interview with LeBron James and Chris Bosh on James’ UNINTERRUPTED network, Drake explained what it meant to be a kid from Toronto watching Carter put the city, and Canada as a country, on the map.
“For me, it was different man. For me it was a time marker because when Vince was popping in the city we had nightclubs that seemed larger than life. We had celebrities coming to our city performing that would have never been here before. We had rappers and people from here who were acting like we were in New York. People were driving different cars, starting businesses. He created a culture for us that we had only seen on television. We had somebody and people were gravitating to us. Everybody got a charge off of his energy, his excitement.”
The man who earned the nicknames ‘Air Canada,’ along with ‘Vinsanity’ and ‘Half-Man-Half-Amazing,’ built a career off of creating the awe-inspiring.
Here are some of the best moments from Vince Carter’s career.
Game-winner against the Portland Trail Blazers
This would be Carter’s last game-winner as a member of the Raptors before being traded to the New Jersey Nets after the 2004-05 season.
“Somebody take that cape off that man’s back!”
Sometimes, it’s as simple as getting the ball to your best player and letting them create magic.
He’s still got it
Carter was past his prime by the time he suited up for the Dallas Mavericks, but Emeka Okafor found out the hard way that he still had a little juice left in his legs.
He messed around and got a triple-double
A 40-point triple-double?
Return to Toronto
In Carter’s first game back in Toronto as a member of the Nets, he scored 39 points and hit a shot to force overtime, before securing the win against his former team.
At his peak, not too many players made scoring look as effortless as Carter. His 51-point outburst against the Suns speaks to that.
Big time players make big time plays
In the first round 2014 Western Conference playoffs, with the series tied 1-1, a 37-year old Carter hit a game-winning three at the buzzer to give Dallas a 2-1 series lead over San Antonio.
Sorry, Timmy D
Tim Duncan is one of the greatest rim protectors in NBA history, but when Air Canada takes off – well, we all know what happens next.
The star of all All-Stars
The All-Star Game hosts 24 of the game’s best talents on one night, but no star could match Carter in this moment.
Carter made his presence felt immediately during his rookie season, evidenced by this legendary baseline reverse against the Indiana Pacers.
No, no, no, Mr. Mutombo
When you challenge as many shots as Dikembe Mutombo did throughout his career, you are bound to get put on a poster.
This 360 slam against the Cleveland Cavaliers is the definition of full extension on a dunk, and it stands as one of Carter’s most memorable due to his shimmy afterwards.
Another career night
Carter matched his career high of 51 points three times in his career, and this time, it came at the expense of the Miami Heat.
A record-breaking playoff performance
Carter’s playoff career-high of 50 points would have been impressive alone. But add in the fact that he set an NBA record by connecting on eight threes in the first half and it stands as one of the most impressive playoff performances in league history.
2000 Dunk Contest
This was the most-anticipated All-Star moment in NBA history.
The “Dunk of Death”
This is it.
This is Half-Man-Half-Amazing.
Thank you, Vince!