Let the debate end. Vince Carter has been the most talented and bestest basketball player to ever don a Raptors jersey. You said so. He decimated his competition in our little experiment, taking down TJ Ford, Tracy Murray, Jose Calderon, Alvin Williams and Chris Bosh in resounding fashion. None of the head to heads were even close.
What this means is open to debate. Do Vince Carter lovers actually outnumber the haters just because they are less passionate? Is it a backlash against all the silly booing? Who knows.
I do know that this is one subject that Arsenalist and I agree on, which is grounds for you to take shelter from the oncoming tsunami since our agreement on anything is a rare thing. To this day if you go to any part of the US and ask people to talk Raptors ball, Vince Carter usually comes up in the conversation. He did more for this franchise than any player before or after. At a time when this franchise was listing, he put us on the map and rarely made an appearance on US television without wearing something Raptors related or bringing the team up numerous times in conversation. Have you seen Bosh do that? He was the first high profile player to re-sign with us and set up house and home in Toronto. He adopted this city and the city adopted him. We yearn so much for the American stamp of approval, for someone to say they love it here, for ESPN to show our highlights, TNT to show our game on a Thursday night, to have a national broadcast on Christmas or any given Sunday. Vince singlehandedly provided all that and wore the purple proudly.
People always point to his final days here and continue to believe he bailed on this team, taking interviews out of context and riding the injury train more than he should have. Again, my opinion? I think the team sat him for extended periods to protect their investment. Did he check out mentally? I believe so, but I also think there is a reason for it: here was a young guy that poured his heart and soul into a team and city only to see it snap back against him. Keeping a promise and going to your graduation, something the club agreed to, should be commended in this age of trying to convince kids to stay in school and read to achieve. Instead, it was the start of his downfall…something made even more silly when you consider the backlash happened after a game 7 appearance in the second round of the playoffs that, had he hit that final shot, would have been a forgotten, possibly even lauded move. Instead, the crosshairs landed on his head and he was run out of town. The mental anguish that he must have lived through hearing his mother attacked, being called a quitter, seeing false trade talk become front page news in media for 3 years……all made it completely understandable that he wanted out. He didn’t quit on us, we turned our backs on him. We have never been the same team ever since. Instead of making appearances on US National television, we have video game companies inserting a booing track in their games. Quite the thing to be known for as fans. Embarrassing.
Vince Carter is the best Raptor ever. No debate. No doubt. Nobody else is even close.