The Atlanta Hawks had their lone visit to Canada to face the Toronto Raptors. This means that it could be the last time that Vince Carter plays in the building that made him famous.
“I enjoy the moment each and every time,” Vince Carter said at Scotiabank Arena ahead of yesterday’s matchup against the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors were expected to win and did by a score of 104-101. But the story of this game was not the Raptors 31st win. It was the veteran bench player in Vince Carter.
Vince Carter is a legend, a villain, and some consider the most important player to ever don a Toronto Raptors uniform. Regardless of how you feel about him, it is undeniable that he brought a level of attention to the team that it did not have before. What was the Raptors’ greatest accomplishment before he came along? Probably when the expansion Raptors beat one of the greatest teams ever, the 1996 Chicago Bulls.
Vince was traded to the Raptors on draft night and captured the imaginations of every kid, adult, and basketball fan. He was must-watch TV, which resulted in the Raptors’ only Christmas Day game in 2001 (the height of Vinsanity).
He left. It was not pretty. The city of Toronto was angry, then heartbroken when the Nets beat the Raptors in their 2007 playoff series. However, as Vince has moved to become more of a bench player, and more of a veteran presence, fan’s ill-will dissipated, and his legacy became cemented as a part of the Raptors’ history. His legacy with the Raptors also continued even this season when he scored his 25,000th point against the Raptors earlier in the year.
This was solidified on Tuesday night when Vince entered the game. He received a standing ovation, which he certainly did not get in his early years. Vince clearly still has it too. He hit the first 3 that he shot and finished with 6 points across 13 minutes.
After watching the game, it is clear Vince is an iron man who could keep going for years. His physical stamina is rare and should be commended. So this begs the question, can he keep going after this season? Yes!
Vince is a true veteran role player. He is someone who can keep going, and someone who every player respects. He is clearly a perfect fit for a team like the Atalanta Hawks, who is in a rebuild and can help mentor young players through their early years.
However, who wouldn’t want to see Vince finish it where he started? A return to the Toronto Raptors would be a fantastic story this season (where a deep playoff run or championship is expected) and he could close out on a high, or do the Dirk Nowitzki victory tour next season. Either way, it would close off a chapter of the Raptor’s history on a high note, and a thank-you to the man who brought the team to relevancy, and the highs that they are at now.