After Vince Carter choked at the foul line last night, I realized something: Vince will never escape his reputation as a player that isn’t clutch. While this label is certainly unfair to attach to Carter, it will nevertheless dog him throughout the remainder of his playing days and into retirement.
Despite the fact that he is an eight-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA player, Carter is still seen as overrated by many. For some reason, whether it be his inability to get a team to the Conference Finals before this year, or his seemingly laid-back attitude toward the game, people have disliked Carter for awhile. Despite the fact that Carter is a good guy, never in trouble with the law, and a man of principle who attended his UNC graduation on the same day as a Raptors playoff game, people still love to hate Vince.
I personally am not one of those guys, as I grew to admire Vince in his time with the Nets, but the haters are everywhere. They will cite the fact that in Game 4 of the 2007 Conference Semifinals against the Cavs with the Nets down by two and under 20 seconds to play, Carter failed to get up a shot as he was stripped by Larry Hughes. Or they’ll bring up the fact that he missed a game-winner in Game 7 against the Sixers after attending his UNC graduation as mentioned above. They will mention him quitting on Toronto, and his penchant for injuries and a laundry list of other things. However, none of Vince’s detractors point out what he has done for the teams he has been on.
He single-handedly put the Raptors on the map, making them relevant in basketball circles as a new franchise in the early 2000s. After coming to the Nets in 2004, he carried that team along with Jason Kidd to the 8th seed in that year’s playoffs – the same playoffs that he hit a fadeaway from the baseline to force double overtime. He has also hit numerous game-winners over the years in the regular season, including in 2009 against the Hawks while still with the Nets.
While none of the cited examples above will change the mind of any Vince detractors after his two clankers at the end of the game last night, Vince’s reputation for coming up small will live on until he eventually fades from the NBA spotlight over time.
What do you think?
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