It seems so long ago when Vince Carter put on one of the most memorable aerial performances of all time, during the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk contest.
Seventeen years removed from his stunning display of athletic prowess, the man once dubbed “half-man, half-amazing” is still in the league, doing what he loves the most.
Now at 40 years and entering the twilight of his storied career, Carter shared aspirations of having his jersey immortalized at the place where it all began.
After suiting up for seven different teams in 20 seasons, Carter expressed his desire to have his number retired by the Toronto Raptors.
“Of course, I’d like for [the Raptors] to retire my jersey. You’d always like your jersey retired. That is where it’s started,” the veteran wing player said in a diary entry for The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears.
“There have been talks about it. People talk about it, and I’m very thankful for it. But for me, I try my best not to think about it because I am still of service in this league,” he added.
Carter, who donned the Raptors’ colors from 1998 to 2004, is credited for elevating the expansion franchise to new heights and boosting the sport’s popularity in Canada.
Although he failed to secure a title for the Raptors, he was named 1999 Rookie of the Year, made five All-Star Game appearances, and was also named to an All-NBA Team twice while on the team.
However, his willingness to pursue a championship resulted into a less than amicable exit with the franchise in 2004, when he was traded to the then-New Jersey Nets.
Still, “Air Canada” considers Toronto his home, and would like to honor those memories when he decides to hang up his sneakers for good.
“At the end of the day, every player’s end result is to see their jersey hanging in the rafters somewhere. That is where it started. Hopefully I will get that opportunity,” he said. Khristian Ibarrola/JB