“What can I do? How can I make this better? How can I get the world to understand where my heart is?”

That’s Vince Carter at the beginning of a promo for Sportsnet’s “Vince Carter: The re-imagination of VC,” a special that will air on Sportsnet on Wednesday following the Raptors game against the Dallas Mavericks.

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Vince Carter is returning to Toronto on Wednesday for the 13th time in regular season action. And as always, it’s a semi-big deal, bringing up a hot topic many don’t think about on the regular but feel passionately about when prompted.

When Carter walks on to the ACC floor tomorrow, it will be nine years, one month and five days since he was traded by Rob Babcock to the New Jersey Nets. Why is Sportsnet dragging it up nearly a decade later, especially since Carter’s still an active player for an opposing team? That’s a good question, and one with a pretty obvious answer.

Look, I have no doubt that the feature will be well-done – Michael Grange, whose project it is (and who wrote an accompanying piece in Sportsnet Magazine that’s not available on the web), is a talented writer and a smart guy, and I’d wager the work is excellent.

The decision to do it, however, is more questionable. Ratings, sure. Pushing magazines, definitely. But more importantly, the feature seems to be taking a “forgive Vince” angle (I think), one that could have tangible fiscal benefits for the organization (which, don’t forget, Rogers has a substantial financial stake in). Nostalgia sells (you think it was a coincidence Drake had a suit jacket lined with a throwback Carter jersey?) and as Carter nears the end of his career, the team is no doubt thinking of ways to monetize Carter’s legacy with the franchise.

It’s a risky proposition, though, because a lot of the fanbase still feels passionately about how Carter left. Perhaps a brief refresher is in order.

To say Vince Carter was the Raptors first star is probably fudging history a bit (Damon Stoudamire was pretty big when the franchise launched), but calling him the face of the franchise and saying he put the team on the map culturally isn’t. Carter was and, for many, still is the Raptors.

While he only spent six-and-a-half seasons with the team, consider his place in franchise history:

*He ranks second to Chris Bosh in points, blocks and win shares, third in minutes, steals and 3-pointers, fourth in assists, fifth in rebounds and sixth in games played. He and Bosh are the record book.

*He has the two highest-scoring games in team history, five of the top six and 12 of the top 14. He’s the most dominant player the team’s ever had and it’s not even close.

*He has five of the 11 All-Star appearances by Raptors (Bosh also has five and Antonio Davis has one).

*He led the team to three of the franchise’s five playoff appearances (though he only played in two), the franchise’s only playoff series victory and he was basically one rim-out from bringing the team to the conference finals.

*One fateful night in 2000 brought the Raptors to the forefront of basketball culture:

If you don’t believe Carter had an impact on the franchise’s overall profile, you’re lying to yourself.

“Vince Carter was my Michael Jordan.” – Tristan Thompson (in the Sportsnet promo)

That’s a sentiment that’s probably shared by a lot of basketball fans in Canada. Carter was a superstar and is the best player the team has ever had. That makes him an enormous part of the franchise’s iconography.

Then He Quit
Okay, so here’s where the drama comes in. Maybe fans would still boo Carter no matter how he left – they still boo Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh, after all, and they left as free agents – but he left in the worst way possible.

Now, the exact history on Carter’s trade demand and “quitting on the team” is something that gets disputed often. We know he asked for a trade at some point, but there have also been stories that Carter then backed off his demand, only for then-general manager Rob Babcock to dig in and trade him anyway. Regardless of the specifics, he asked out, and that’s something many fans won’t forgive.

“It’s time for the truth: I want to be traded, I’m ready to be traded. First and foremost, this has nothing to do with the fans or the city, it’s just time for me to look after me.” – Vince Carter, 2004.

That’s a tough quote for any fanbase to accept, and it wasn’t made easier when his quotes from a 2005 TNT interviewed were misconstrued as him saying he quit on the team (in reality, he said he could have pushed himself harder and that he largely relied on his talent, still not forgivable but not the same thing).

I’m sure if I had been blogging at that point, I would have jumped all over it, too, and been vehement in my take-down of Carter. Jilted lover, and all that. And that’s largely what the Toronto media did in the years that followed – that’s not a criticism, by the way – it’s a big story and a hot-button issue and “what really happened” has never really come to light.

As years have gone by, the media has softened on Carter, and we’ve occasionally seen neutral pieces with Carter reflecting on his time in Toronto and even some “Carter could finish his career in Toronto” takes.

On the other side, former MLSE CEO Richard Peddie’s book isn’t flattering for Carter’s legacy, as Peddie reportedly calls out Carter’s heart and calls him a mama’s boy (I say reportedly because I haven’t read it).

Some Confounding Factors
Things probably wouldn’t have been this emotional in a different timeline, if you know your remedial chaos theory. There were, however, circumstances around the trade demand and subsequent trade that made things worse.

For one, Rob Babcock was a terrible general manager. Even if Carter didn’t actually back off his trade demand and was holding a gun to Babcock’s head, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams, the right to pay Alonzo Mourning to play elsewhere and two non-lottery picks is a pretty soft return. If the return had been better (and the picks not used to select Joey Graham and then be rid of Jalen Rose’s contract) and the team more capable in the years following the trade, perhaps Carter is more easily forgiven.

There’s also the fact that the franchise has struggled to keep stars and there are feelings of inferiority that creep in as a Raptor fan. Vince was the third of four to leave and, while his exit wasn’t any more egregious than Stoudamire’s, his was the highest profile and the one that seems to have done the most reputational damage (“Canada isn’t a place an NBA star can be happy,” as I wrote in that ESPN piece).

And The Big One
To my knowledge, Vince Carter has never apologized to Toronto Raptor fans for leaving the way he did. Whether he deserves the whole of the blame for the situation or not – and yes, he covered his tracks at the time by saying it wasn’t about the fans, as if that helped – he needs to have the self-awareness to realize that no matter his reasons, what he did hurt the fans.

In the years since, Carter has seemed somewhat oblivious to this fact. I’m sure he’s not, in reality, but he often plays the “they don’t understand the whole story” and “I love Toronto and will never forget it” cards. The guy basically asked for his jersey to be retired, for crying out loud.

Having never publicly addressed the fans to apologize (how could he, really? He’s not going to grab the mic while visiting with another team), talking like all is forgiven and Toronto is an old home just waiting for him to return shows an astonishing lack of percipience.

But Get Used To It
When I asked people for their current feelings on Carter on twitter today, it was pretty split (see below). For those who remain angry with him and don’t want him associated with the franchise in any way, well, sorry about your damn luck.

Maybe Carter won’t be brought back as an actual piece on the team, maybe he will, as he’s hinted at in the past. He’ll be a 37-year-old unrestricted free agent this summer and he’ll probably be willing to take a pay cut from the $3.18 million he makes right now. He’s also still a really effective wing off the bench, a hole the size of Oliver Miller’s grocery bill on this current Raptors squad. That’s not really the point, though.

If he came back as a player, it surely wouldn’t take long for a large portion of fans to warm back up to him. MLSE is an incredible spin machine with plenty of avenues at their disposal, and the story pretty much writes itself (make your own bad “Prodigal Son…AND His Prodigal Mom” headlines). Nostalgia sells.

Even if that’s not the plan of action, MLSE and Rogers are clearly testing the waters of public opinion on Carter with this special. They’ll gauge the feedback and, if it’s negative, do it again sometime in the future. There’s money to be made with Vince Carter throwbacks, Vince Carter bobblehead night, a Vince Carter jersey retirement and so on. Eventually, he’s going to be welcomed back into the franchise, even if that day comes with resentment from groups of fans.

My Take
I realize that as a blogger (and generally, someone who complains a lot) that I should probably be angry about this. Not to break everything down into numbers, but here’s the one that matters for me: 3,322. It’s been 3,322 days since Carter was traded, and that’s a lot of time to let wounds heal and gain perspective.

Look, what Carter did was wrong. It violated the spirit of his contract and it violated the implicit relationship a player has with the fans of a team, especially when that player is the superstar. He didn’t care about the fans, and that’s a real issue and it makes me like him less.

At the same time, if theScore hired Rob Babcock to be my supervising editor right now, I’d probably be asking for a trade to B/R’s Team Stream app by the summer. He was wasting Carter’s prime and depending on the history you choose to believe, was unwilling to work to make Carter happy once the original demand came out. In addition to all of that, he’s the greatest player in franchise history and most relevant Raptor memories involve him. Some of those are bad memories, but most are exciting and positive.

Do I want the franchise to bring Carter back in after his playing days and shower him with love and kisses and honors and Drake songs? I don’t feel he deserves a particularly ceremonious homecoming, but he’s simply too important to just forget forever. As much as I hated him for a long time, he was literally the player who pulled me in to watching basketball, and those feelings have outlived the negative ones. The trade demand was a decade ago, and his place in the franchise’s history can’t just be ignored because he’s a narcissist. If anyone’s jersey belongs up top alongside Bon Jovi and the Atlantic Division Winner banner, it’s Jose Calderon Vince.

Vince Carter owes the Toronto Raptors fanbase a sincere apology at some point in the future. Once that’s out of the way, it’s hard to fault MLSE and Carter for cashing in on nostalgia and trying to put a more positive spin on a negative part of the franchise’s identity.

Here’s How You Feel
Obviously, this is a hot topic for a lot of people. I solicited some feedback on twitter earlier, embedded below (unless you dropped an F-bomb…sorry, Butter Chicken, PPP and Louvens, we’re an ESPN-affiliated site). We’d love to hear everyone’s take in the comments as well.

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162 Responses to “On the Relationship between Raptor Fans and Vince Carter”

  1. DDayLewis

    Just putting this out there: TheScore’s app >>>>>>>>>>>>> B/R’s team stream app.

  2. Louvens Remy

    I had one too many swear words in my Tweet to you. Vince is the G.O.A.T, both ways. He alone made himself great and he alone did himself and the paying customer a disservice by acting in a monumentally bad way that changed the course of his narrative in Toronto. He let us down. But I don’t hate him. There are too many athletes with half his talent who give their all, on and off the court, no matter what. I like what Garnett did in Minnesota. He played hard, never complained, never asked for a trade. Just went about his job. Vince shoulda done that and if he got traded then so be it. I think most fans recognize that he’s the greatest, but its nice to never let him forget his ways. He’s never done it since.

  3. arsenalist

    My thoughts are that this is a non-issue and that Sportsnet magazine is desperately trying to sell some copies by resorting to sensationalism.

    • DDayLewis

      Wait, a news publication resorting to sensationalism? Why, they’d never do anything like that!


      • Colonel_Hapablapp

        I’m not gonna read an article from a magazine that cares more about hockey than any other sport.

        And I forgave Vince a LONG TIME ago.

  4. Louvens Remy

    Vincent “Wincy” Lemar is still mine and probably everyone’s favorite Raptor of all time. It’s just that we don’t want to give him the satisfaction for his ways.

  5. jjdynomite

    Thank you for reminding me how annoying Kenny Smith was in the 2000 Dunk Content.

    I would like those who say #15 should be retired to clarify their remarks. Putting him on par with a Sundin or an Alomar is an insult to the latter two superstars, who never dogged it even when they were unhappy with their respective franchises (and they had every reason to be).

    I believe if Wince didn’t have phenomenally athletic dunks and his whole “Air Canada” persona, NO ONE WOULD CARE (ergo, he would be Bosh). This is an athletic case-in-point for style over substance. And yes, I owned a Wince T-shirt and jersey (name lettering replaced by Garbajosa’s #15). But to quote 1 Corinthians: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” And now the Wince T is my repairs-around-the-house shirt.

    • CGarbs

      I don’t think Vince’s number should be retired for lack of stats while he was here and lack of years. But from a pure talent standpoint he is above a Sundin and on par with an Alomar. Go to you tube and watch some of Vince’s old game highlights(Some dude has recently posted a ton of old games from the glory years). He wasn’t just a dunker, he was a great shooter and scorer in so many different ways. He was always a subpar defender but in terms of offence, absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing to watch. On the offensive side of the ball he was in Kobe’s league, and that is why many of us believe he should get more recognition than he does for his years here(I would love to see him get into the hall as a Raptor). Vince lacked the teams and the Defence to achieve the highest success but what he was is still worthy of appreciation. (But seriously check out those youtube game highlights and you’ll instantly understand the tankers who long for when we have a guy like that again).

      • jjdynomite

        Good points, but seriously, THE HALL?!? Why not admit Antawn Jamison then? Or even Jalen? They were 20 PPG defense-poor players on similarly decent teams over the years…and none of them won titles either. Wince will be the charter member of Hall of Dunks, that’s all.

        • jjdynomite

          And do we really want to be repped by a guy who is known throughout the league — even in his POST-Raptor career, for being “injury-” -prone and exaggerating whatever “injuries” he did have?

    • sleepz

      Look at his numbers. Dunks alone won’t get you into the Hall of Fame and he will be in the Hall.

  6. CGarbs

    I remember those Vince years like yesterday! I remember seeing the fight drained out of VC’s body due to brutal management. I think I saw the fight die the season before he got traded. He came out on fire giving his all for the team and I think he realized at some point that even his all wasn’t good enough with the talent that surrounded him. How do you continue to fight for a team that isn’t doing anything to help you win? especially in the prime of your life? Look at those Raptors squads that Vince was on, absolutely brutal! And I think it all started because of their playoff run and overpaying a bunch of guys who weren’t quite good enough(Davis, Williams, JYD), coupled with the loss of Keon Clark who was underrated in terms of his impact(personal issues aside). On top of that I remember the TO media jumping on VC for the lack of the teams success and I remember just shaking my head, how do you win with a broken Jalen as your supposed #2? I remember wondering how VC was taking the media jumping on him for his teams mismanagement.
    Now all this said, I do think it VC should’ve kept fighting but its hard when you see no hope coming, and you feel like the franchise isn’t even listening to you. On top of this all, we should all see Vince’s perspective of management with what followed. I mean you look what Babcock got for Vince in his prime and I think you could argue we got more for Bargs. What kind of GM thinks that that is the best offer he could have gotten? And only 20 games into the season? With bad management and brutal teammates what’s a guy to do? I have never blamed Vince for leaving, and have always placed the blame squarely on the Raptors organization and their GMs. When you get a guy like that, you got to give him hope he can win with the team. If you don’t, what else do you expect with competitive guys that want to win and build a legacy?
    Like many VC is still my favorite NBA player of all time and favorite Raptor. He is the only elite talent we have ever had and lead the only team that we have ever had that could be described as “great”. For those that hate VC so much, why are you still Raptors fans? Because the organization deserves at least as much blame for those crappy Raptors teams than Vince. Advice: Follow the Spurs and boo whenever the Raptors play against them.

    • webfeat

      Babcock was horrible, no question. But VC decided he need to leave at a bad time. Bosh was just about ready to break out into superstar-dom. They would have been great to have on the same team, man.

      • Marz

        You know what else would have been great? Bosh and Iggy. Or Bosh and Chris Paul**. Or Bosh and Deron Williams. Babcock wasn’t just horrible, he was a fucking disaster!

        **The reason we got such a poor haul for Vince was because Babcock was insistent on receiving 2 first round draft picks for him. Well, he finally got two from the Nets, one of which was a 2005 first rounder used to select Joey Graham at number 16. The Raptors also had the #7 pick in that draft, which they used for Charlie Villanueva. Before the 2005 draft, the Utah Jazz traded the 6th pick, the 27th pick and a 2006 first-round draft pick for the #3 pick, which they used to select Deron Williams.

        • CGarbs

          Know what also would’ve been great? VC and DWade. I’m pretty sure having another dynamic scorer that could contribute right away would’ve changed VC’s view of the franchise.

    • FREEJV


    • Sulyma Jeff

      He didn’t help the teams he was traded to. Vince is a little girl in a man’s game.

  7. robertparrish00

    IF Vince decides to come back, and MLSE convinces everyone it is awesome, we will all buy in and mark my words…the Heat will offer him a deal and he will sign there.

  8. Raptorozans

    What I would like to know is, how is MLSE going to invite Vince back for a feel-good jersey retirement ceremony when half the crowd at the ACC is still liable to boo the bejeezus out of him no matter what – it’s going to make for one awkward scene.

  9. jamesk

    It doesn’t hurt the franchise in free agency to have it out in the media that Vince loves T.O. Maybe he can recruit along with Fake, or Fizzy, or whatever his name is…started on Degrassi in a chair, started on degrassi in @#’n wheelchair

  10. sleepz

    Let it go. What’s the purpose of booing him now?

    He messed up (like many athletes do from time to time), but he put the team on the map and as a Raptor fan since jump, has there been a more exciting time than when he was on the team? Were we not all sure that with him as the guy that the team could be really, really good (especially that year with TMac)? Have we ever felt the same way since?

    Has he been a huge influence over the new generation of young talented basketball players our country is producing now?

    I was glad when he was traded because he quit on the team, but this is a long time ago and I’m not booing or harboring i’ll feelings towards this guy because it’s pointless.

    Side note, Raptor fans as a collective gotta stop this jilted girlfriend mentality and stop the foolishness with booing everyone who returns like we’re still upset with them. It’s the fans who end up looking like the crazy ex-lover. Most of those players will tell you they enjoyed their time in Toronto in hindsight. We become too insecure when players want to leave here, as if they don’t do that in other cities. It’s sports people, and it’s big business.

    • DDayLewis

      I agree with not booing Bosh, Turk and Bargs, but Vince gave up on the franchise! He feigned injury and shot his trade value in the foot. Personally, I’m over it and I wouldn’t really boo him, but people have every right to.

      • sleepz

        Oh, I don’t disagree with you. I was upset to the point that when Babcock made the trade I said good riddance as i didn’t care back who they got, as long as he was gone. Quitting on the team is a cardinal sin and anyone watching the games back then knew he laid down, to the point Mitchell didn’t trust putting him out there on the floor at times.

        All I’m saying is that he messed up and he knows it. i don’t need an apology from him because time has elapsed and what happened is old news now, but like with the other examples you’ve mentioned, we’ve become the ‘angry fanbase’ and I just think we should move on sometimes

      • jjdynomite

        Agreed with Bosh, DDay, and perhaps Bargs, but Turk most certainly did not perform anywhere close to his rep or contract, save for dumbass Pizza Pizza commercials and “Ball” quotes.

  11. Digitking

    I think a lot of the booing/anger at VC is a reflection of the fact that since VC left (and Bosh too) there’s been zero success for the Raptors and we’ve been stuck between being terrible and mediocre. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think the Raps have ever been in the playoffs without either VC or Bosh, so a lot of the anger is directed at VC when it should be at the organization that’s been so terrible for so long (sounds a lot like TFC and the Leafs!)

    • IkeKrizzule

      Or the organization might not be so terrible if Carter didn’t force a trade where we got nothing in return and Bosh was honest about wanting to go so we could have got something for him.

  12. Brett

    That trade stinked. That was the cherry on top. Not only did we trade Vince and did his value go back up to which we all knew it could be, but in return we got so little.

  13. jrm1200

    I can accept what he did. I can forgive him for what he did. I can even forget what he did. But I draw the line at celebrating it.

    Just picturing Vince giving an acceptance speech to a packed ACC crowd, mom by his side, as his number is raised to the rafters is making my skin crawl.

    People say our booing is a result of an inferiority complex. I believe a willingness to even consider honouring someone who did what he did screams inferiority and belittles the fans who have sustained this team since. Let’s teach Vince something his mom never could, you can’t get everything you want.

  14. Philoveritas

    I watched a whole lot of Raptors ball during the VC years. He was hands-down ‘the man’ when he wanted to be…unfortunately he didn’t want to very often. I don’t care whether he admitted it or not. I saw him fake an injury to get out of a blowout, tip a play to the opposition, and when the fans started booing him he took over a game to satisy his ego and then intentionally missed a buzzer beating layup to lose the game. The coach didn’t bench him in the fourth quarter of games after that because he ‘relied on talent’. While it is totally his fault that his trade value was almost negative it is the organization’s fault for not having the stones to not trade him. I said as much to Babcock when I passed by him at Union Station after the trade(he looked amazed that someone even knew who he was). I would have drilled him to death in practice and then staple him to the bench in games until he quit(which wouldn’t have taken much knowing his b****-a** character). They could have sold his contract to the Russian league(does Siberia have a team?) anything but Zo and and a couple of scrubs named Williams. Funny enough I was more pissed off at Alonzo ‘retiring’ to avoid having to play in Toronto and then magically returning to health for a championship run for Miami then I was at Vince for forcing the trade. I could only assume that he asked privately first and was refused so he did what he felt he had to do. I can never forgive the whole throwing games thing though. He could have been one of the greatest if he only had heart to match his talent. As to the rumours of Wince playing out his days in a return to T.O. I sincerely hope no one in the front office is under any illusions that he is a man that has any business providing veteran leadership to their young core.

  15. Philoveritas

    To put things into perspective though, VC was a great baller not so much a great person. Heck even MJ himself was an arrogant jerk that rubbed his teammates the wrong way. If the NBA was full of squeaky-clean Steve Nash types it would get kinda boring in this era of 24 hour sports media. To be fair Vince had some mad skills. He could shoot from anywhere on the court, dunk from anywhere between the foul line and base line no matter who was in between him and the rim. His first step was undefendable, it was his bread and butter, he could take one step to the side and drive past anyone in the league. But he got lazy, and too often took a jumper because it required less work. His D actually was solid, he was always more of a block/steal help-defender than a man-on-man shutdown guy anyhow. Let us not forget that the antics he pulled to get traded were UNPRECEDENTED in professional sports, some guys have used the media to leverage a trade request, some have failed to report, held-out, refused to sign, ‘retired’, heck Rodman went AWOL, but no-one tanked his way out of town before or since. All in all it is not like he brought his gats to the locker room or in his case the front office. He just made a world-class, classless move and some stains don’t come out in the wash as easily as others.

  16. Chch166

    once printed a picture of VC off just to rip it up and flush it down the toilet.. so yeah.

  17. Andrey

    Yeah he gave up on a franchise. But it was never between us and VC. It was VC and management. Somehow it was turned into he gave up on a city and fans. It’s simply not true. Some fans make it sound like he quit on national team. It was a case of employee being pissed off at his employer and trying to get fired. But it’s not some Judas story. We took it personally when we shouldn’t have.
    PS: besides Raptors fans give up on it’s own players ALL the time.

    • CJT

      anyone who paid for a ticket to watch VC quit should take it personally. While I agree with you that the issue stems with management, he didn’t seem to concerned with how that Vince show would affect the fan base. I think the one thing that Toronto fans can appreciate is a guy that leaves it all on the court. How many athletes have been adored in our city with sub par talent and crazy heart? He had an opportunity here and didn’t care enough about the game or the fans to play hard.

  18. CJT

    This is a non issue. He has never done anything on the court that warrants a jersey being retired, hall of fame etc. He wasted his talents on the belief that he was above it all and deserved it without working for it. I have never booed him or anybody else for that matter, but I also don’t believe that Vince deserves to be honoured. He had an impact on the franchise without a doubt but I think he had the same negative impact on the way he left and therefor it is a wash in my eyes.

  19. Mark

    The Carter hate is just another example of the insane standards to which fans hold professional athletes, standards that 99.9999999% of us could never hope to live up to, and to which we would never hold those around us in our personal lives. But for some reason when someone makes a lot of money for doing anything on television they become the target of irrational hatred should they fail to live up to the audience’s all-too-lofty hopes and dreams.

    To anyone who disagrees, I challenge you to look back into your life and state with all honesty that you’ve never given less than 100% in anything you’ve done, never quit on anyone or anything, never failed to make the most of your talents, and never disappointed anyone with your performance.

    Vince Carter is human. So are you. So forgive him like you would any other human.

    • Philoveritas

      I hold him accountable to the standards of a professional, athlete or otherwise. Do I dog it at work, when I am being paid to do something? No. It is one of the fundamental axioms of professional ethics. Mature, civilized adults are expected to practice professional ethics so the standards really apply to everyone, and most people aren’t paid millions to work their hardest. Let’s suppose that VC was an investment banker instead of a basketball player. He still makes millions and peforms exceptionally. But when the market turns south he asks to be transferred to another Regional Office. Management says no Vince, we need you here in Toronto, he proceeds to sabotage his work, making bad deals, losing money…In the real world that man is fired not complied with. He is probably even sued into oblivion, instead of paid-in-full…He certainly is not given a lifetime service award, or rehired as a PR stunt.

  20. elbow

    This is about setting a precedent for the City of Toronto, just not the Raptors organization. The Raptors aren’t just a basketball team, they are one part of conglomerate and they share the history, traditions, and standards associated to every team in Toronto. Even if you want to argue that this City hasn’t produced a bonafied winner since CuJo, Sundin and Quinn were with the Leafs, and before that since Jays won the World Series, I would argue we are a City that takes winning VERY seriously.

    To ALL of you who suggest his name be raised to the rafters, shame on you! To have his name sit a long side other athletes who were the complete 180 of Vince Carter… I just won’t allow such a thing. What he did was exactly what he did. There is NO WAY to sugar coat such a thing. As a fan of Toronto sports, I would be beset and disgusted. If you want to argue he did a bunch of stuff for Canadian basketball and what not, let the proper authorities note such a thing because what he did to Toronto, is something I just can’t let go.

    Look I’m all for letting go of animosity that is palpable. The booing is old, the jokes are old, Vince is old and hopefully one day he’s just a footnote to a better representative of this organization and this City. What he did though, is not worth condoning so that we can sully what we have left. We risk tarnishing whatever reputation we have left simply because we want to bask in some form of ill conceived nostalgia about another overpaid, over appreciated, and arrogant basketball player.

    I don’t know how many Leafs fans there are on this site, but look up at the rafters when you go to the ACC. Look up at the Jays Level of Excellence when you go to Rogers Centre. Ask yourself, does someone like Vince Carter deserve to be up alongside the names of other athletes who gave so much to this City and stayed loyal to us? Does he even deserve mentioning in the same breath as them?

  21. Marc

    “he was literally the player who pulled me in to watching basketball” Nice bolding there. This is really the crux. Many Canadian basketball fans between the ages of 20 and 40 would agree with this statement. Who cares about him or about anything else?


    The fact that he asked for a trade, to some, is irrelevant. Plenty of stars ask for the same, usually as a message to the organization. The fact the organization traded him is on the organization and speaks of their inability to handle a superstar. (same thing that happened with RG, IMO).

    But, here’s what simply cannot be forgiven under any circumstance… this joker GAVE AWAY PLAYS TO THE OPPOSING TEAM, DURING A GAME. Treason and treachery are inexcusable and unforgivable. For that, he doesn’t deserve his number to be retired here.. he can have the Nets or Dallas do that for all I care.

  23. Roarque

    Vince never had the right stuff to lead the team to any meaningful victory so to me he was never a super star. He was an exceptional athlete and he was an entertaining showman but the Raptors never won anything significant during his tenure so he remains an afterthought in the annals of this franchise. I suggest we wait for the right knight in shining armor to come before we hoist a number to the raptors rafters.

  24. Lets Play

    I have an interesting question for everyone to consider, if Vince Carter never played for the Toronto Raptors would the Toronto Raptors still be around today? What I mean is that it was Vince Carter who brought in most of the fans we have today, it was Vince Carter who put the Toronto Raptors on the NBA map and finally it is because of Vince Carter we are about to see a whole generation of Canadian basketball athletes compete to get into the NBA.

    By the way Jose Calderon is also coming back, how would that work will we cheer for Jose and Boo Vince?

    • FREEJV

      no we dont cheer for anyone during the game only during intros. However we do boo people during games too 🙂

    • JayTeam

      I remember the end of Carter in Toronto. His refusal to dunk and allegations of giving away plays to opponents. It was ugly and something I will never forgive, Even McGrady and Antonio Davis, who were the other 2 most reviled snubs, played hard as long as they were in a Raptor uniform.

      It wasn’t Carter leaving that was unforgivable, it was the tank job he pulled to force Babcock’s hand that was disgusting.

  25. Andre

    I think if Vince owned up to what he did and asked for forgiveness I would forgive the dude. He was the man when I was growing up, and I followed his career in New Jersey and Dallas. (i wished that he won a ring in Jersey) but in order for Toronto to forgive him, he has to admit fault.

    As much as Babcock was a bad GM, He did put a pretty good team around Vince. Those were some exciting times!!

  26. Derek

    I think what added to Raps fans “hate on” for Vince was that for the next few years after he left, he went to NJ and looked like the “old Vince”. He dropped his “no more dunking” claim and seemed to rediscover his passion/swagger for playing ball. Even though NJ was usually a mediocre team, in the years following they/he always seemed to have Toronto’s number. He’d come in, light Toronto up, and look smug/satisfied doing it – just adding fuel to the fire. The game where he and Mo Pete playfully slapped each other and Mo got ejected (costing the Raps a game they needed), etc. The first few years after the trade, seemed like Vince was more set on making us regret his loss, than trying to mend fences.

    As he’s gotten older, and realized that he isn’t Lebron James, and that his best years are not only behind him, but that they were in Toronto, only then did he have the revelation that he loves Toronto and wants to make up.

    I can’t deny that Vince was great for the Raptors, great for TO (put us on the basketball map in the US), and great for basketball in Canada in general. Hell – Kevin Durant said that watching Vince as a kid made him want to be a Raptor, how much more evidence do you need than that?

    Even if you believe the version of the story that has Vince backing off his trade demands as true, the bottom line is that while he was playing for this team, he stopped trying. He was clearly “going through the motions” and making a half assed attempt at playing while the trade/no-trade scenario was playing itself out.

    That’s what offended me as a fan. I’m paying my hard earned dollars to watch you, and the team is still paying you, but you’re not even trying to play. You want out (for whatever reason) – that happens. You tell management you want out, and continue to play hard so that its easier for them to find a trade partner. If Vince had continued to play to his abilities, while quietly demanding a trade in the background (instead of being a public cancer), even an incompetent boob like Rob Babcock would have had no difficulty finding a trade partner for Vince – probably for a hero’s ransom.

    I think the ONLY way the majority of fans will forgive Vince is if he comes back and plays for the Raptors again as a player. He’d have to take a hometown discount and work his ass off to be a good, contributing player in the last year or two before he retires. If he does that, fans will cheer him, and eventually forgive him, which would open the door to re-establishing his “Toronto” image that management seems to want.

    If that doesn’t happen, and its just some ceremonial “I love Toronto” speech when he’s done playing, I can’t see the majority of fans ever forgiving him.

  27. Stef 511

    Thinking about what I might contribute to the Vince comments … it feels like kicking through cold, dead ashes in a way. Mostly dead, anyway. I could still work up a bit of ire for the prick, if I tried. But … it took effort to realize even that.

    For me, the era of Half-Man-Half-Amazing peaked … and then began to immediately fade (in retrospect) after the ’01 2nd round seven game series against Allen Iverson and the Sixers. As thrilling as he’d been for the years leading up to that series (and during that time, he was the *most* thrilling athlete, ever, for me), for some of those games and moments of second playoff round, he was all that and more.

    Then, from far away (geographically speaking), I read on the Sunday morning of Game Seven, that he had flown to North Carolina the night before, for the gown-and-cap picture day. I couldn’t reconcile that with anything that made sense to me. Having flown myself often enough, it seemed starkly obvious to me that the simple act of flying in an airplane on the day of the – so far – biggest contest ever (for him and the team .. and us, the fans) was so ludicrous, I couldn’t imagine how somebody wasn’t able to talk him out of it.

    And ya, had he not clanked that last shot, I would’ve forgotten about most of it quickly enough. And … it’s not like he played *so badly* during that game — 6-for-18 shooting, 20 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists — but … he wasn’t vintage, amazing Vince, the way he had been for a few of those previous games in that series. Would he have been the fantastic Vince that day, had he stayed with the team and focused on Game Seven? Too long ago to even wonder that …

    As the next couple or so years went by and he eventually got to where he was obviously dogging it … and then slunk out of town, leaving us almost nothing in return, my basketball heart was torn and trampled. Like many.

    I never went to a game when he was visiting so I can’t say that I wouldn’t have booed (but I kind of hate the booing of any former players, no matter what) but … as I watched on tv and heard the crowd going at him the way they did back then, I admit that the small bit of (maybe childish) retribution that it was, did feel right enough that … I kind of enjoyed it. But not after the first couple of years.

    As to now, well … over time, I’ve had to learn, myself, the importance of apologizing when it’s the right thing to do, and I always appreciate when it’s accepted. To this moment, I haven’t heard Vince apologize. Maybe he has and I haven’t heard it … and it’s not for me to even say he should. But … if he did, my ears would perk up and I’d be quite happy to accept it. And I’d probably begin to think more fondly of those days when he WAS Half-Man-Half-Amazing, in those beautiful old Raptors uniforms. But even if that happened, I couldn’t abide, personally, the hanging of his jersey in the ACC. It just don’t think it would be right to do that.

  28. Char

    Vince’s number should be retired, PERIOD! Raptors are popular and has many fans today cause of Vince! He was the best player that ever put on a raptors jersey. And come on, look who was the gm, the bleeping horrible Babcock. The coach? Butch carter who never got another gig, a washed up all time losing coach in Wilkens and the worst coach of all, Kevin o’neil. Look at the team he is last with, mike James as scoring leader. Come on man, that’s just going out of the way to waste talent. I will hate him for leaving the way he did but there’s no denying he had to do it for Vince and he’s the biggest thing toronto sports had in like a 100 years and maybe for the next 100 at this pace! Retire #15!

  29. Bendit

    So this “put us on the map” kudo seems to override all transgressions. The worst being dogging it and letting down his teammates of the day who may have wanted to win and looked up to him…even gave plays away. Rob Ford has certainly put Toronto “on the map”…lets give him the key to the city. At the game, give Jose a standing O, silencio for Wince…until he apologizes for his petulant acts of the past. He cost this franchise. I dont think he understands.

    • Erick Chinchilla

      Last time I checked Vince didn’t put us on the map by smoking crack and embarrassing the city, nor did he put us on the map by demanding the trade. He put us on the map by being a great player, management then decided to only get mediocre talent during a time where his talents were good enough to help a championship ready team, and after he had put Toronto on the map he realized he wasn’t being appreciated within the office which he wasn’t!
      If home ever comes calling Vince, answer the phone cause I would welcome you back with open arms! The team had just as much fault, if not more for what happened!

      • Bendit

        You not only misunderstand the Ford analogy but continue to insist that Vince somehow was so great for the city (put us on the map) that he should have been allowed to in effect run the team. Ridiculous. No one disparages Toronto because of Rob Ford nor thought of the Raptors as some great team either because of Carter. His greatest claim to fame was his natural athletic ability to dunk the ball. Big deal…worth 2 pts. just like a lay in. He pouted and he sulked. He had a contract he signed. Honor it and then move on. He let down his team, his mates and the fans while he went thru the motions and feigned injuries. This team can do without his sort.

  30. TheR3dMenace

    Let me first say that I don’t ever see a need to honour Vince in any way. The day he quit on the team (which is undeniable, even for Carter supporters), I quit on him.

    But I have to ask why do your justifications for Vince nostalgia all end at it being a “good business move” for MLSE. It’s not like they are a fledgling enterprise – money is not an issue, quite the opposite in fact. If that’s the only pro in a list dominated by cons, maybe you should re-evaluate your need to write a balanced piece on this subject. False nostalgia and historical revision = more money for Bell & Rogers. No thanks.

  31. Louvens Remy

    Drake the OVOlord will make sure VC gets a Carter Night. That’s for sure. Also the return of the purple unis as throwbacks coming to a Scarborough Town Centre nearest to Scarborough. Raps gotta take advantage of the VC brand ONE….LAST….TIME.

  32. ScottSegal

    MLSE isn’t “testing the waters” with the special, they need basketball content, and little else would capture a casual Canadian BB fan’s interest.I really dislike the clear push to make nice with Vince from the press though,they clearly want to create a kumbaya moment.I’ll wait for someone with the character and love for this city Amir Johnson displays.That is a man who exemplifies the qualities we should honor.

  33. Gman

    Still waiting for a heartfelt apology. This is not a who was more wrong scenario. If I ever had a chance to Boo Rob Babcock of Kevin McNeil I would. I want to hear him say I was frustrated but it made me do some stupid things and for that I’m sorry. How can you forgive somebody who doesn’t really apologize?

    I felt like I was hungover for a week after Vince got traded. I couldn’t believe it. And then the pundits ripping Babcock for the rubber ball and twine he got in return. Mourning getting paid to not play for us….how, as a fan, could you not get angrier and angrier?

    The fact that on the morning of a game 7 in a playoff series, he flew off, attended a ceremony and flew back and had a pretty bad game. 6-18 and only twenty points and then missing the game winner at the buzzer. Vince always chose what was good for Vince…and the smug satisfaction he would wear as he would almost single handedly destroy future Raptors teams…

    Talk to me again in a few more years.

  34. some random guy

    The only way for Vince to make good is to come back for 2 seasons on a 3 million contract and retire a Raptor. If he comes back, the day he signs he must apologize to the fans (I am all for signing him in the offseason). Give 2 good years, go out as a great role player who may give us glimpses of what could had been, teach DeRozan and Ross and maybe we can talk about retiring his numbers.

  35. Erick Chinchilla

    I forgave VC long ago! I would welcome him back with a huge sign that says “Welcome Home #15”



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