Time heals all wounds. Just ask Vince Carter. After years of being roundly booed upon returning to Air Canada Centre, the former Toronto Raptors superstar received a standing ovation during a video tribute highlighting his time above the border.
According to Raps play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin, scattered jeers turned to widespread and standing cheers as the segment was shown. Carter, a Memphis Grizzlies reserve, was understandably emotional:
Carter debuted with Toronto in 1998 and played there until he was traded to the New Jerseys Nets in 2004. He was Rookie of the Year, an All-NBA Second Team honoree (2001), and a five-time All-Star with the Raptors, establishing himself as one of the most popular players in basketball. Team success, however, was fleeting – Carter won just a single playoff series during his time in Toronto.
The man they used to call “Air Canada” left the Raptors under contentious circumstances. His relationship with Toronto’s front office was fractured during the summer of 2004, and he played initial months of the ensuing season as trade rumors swirled – which Carter may or may not have created. He was finally dealt to New Jersey on December 18, 2004.
Clearly, that’s all water under the bridge now. VC has reinvented himself as a valuable two-way reserve known for his team-first mentality, and the Raptors are enjoying sustained success for the first time since he left town 10 years ago.
We often talk about loving the NBA for reasons far beyond basketball. This is a perfect example.
(Video via Toronto Raptors)
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