He flew. He literally flew.
For the span of about three seconds, Vince Carter stared down the rim while palming the ball in his right hand that peaked over the square on the backboard. The future Hall of Famer was ultimately met at the rim by current Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo with a foul and he missed the dunk.
The play was one of the first basketball memories of my life. I was sitting next to my father at one of my first Atlanta Hawks games and was looking down in the fresh stands of the new Philips Arena as the play began to develop. It was difficult to focus on the actual 48-minute game as a six-year-old. My head sprung up as I had the collective “ohhhh” from the crowd as VC took flight. The basket didn’t count because he missed the shot but it was the most impressive thing I’ve seen on a court up to that point.
The memory is one that many now-young adults have shared with similar moments produced by Carter on the court. That’s why he’s one of the most unique players of all-time.
Personal anecdote out of the way, Carter has always been an absolute nightmare for the Hawks. He was never the best player on the planet but he looked like it every time he faced Atlanta. Even as a 38-year-old when he double-pumped a 70-foot hail mary into the basket as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies. He’s made game-winning blocks, shots and assists and against the Hawks in his 21 years in the league. It’s only right for him to spare the franchise for one season.
Once in New Jersey, during one of his headband leap years, stood out in particular. Shortly after the new year in 2009, the then-respectable Hawks were ahead of the post-Jason Kidd Nets by a point in overtime. The infamous Marvin Williams deflected the inbound pass to start the game clock with five seconds remaining. Carter recovered the ball near half court before taking two steps and pulling up for an open 30-foot jump shot over an outstretched Josh Smith. Carter swished the ball through the net as the buzzer went off because of course, he’s Carter.
Another chapter of Vinsanity
The longevity of Carter’s career adds to his long list of “wow” moments, especially considering the number of injuries he suffered during his time in New Jersey. Now, the hooper who vouched for himself to join the team during the Summer League broadcast against the Chicago Bulls gets another opportunity to hoop and teach Trae Young how to handle NBA stardom.
Welcome to the A, Vince.