“I don’t think any player has ever been booed like that night.” That’s Vince Carter looking back on his return to Toronto for the first time after getting dealt from the Toronto Raptors to the New Jersey Nets.
Carter spoke with Steve Smith of NBA this weekend to look back on that night, the situation leading up to the trade, and more. It’s an interesting eight-minute interview and kind of a weirdly timed look back at perhaps the biggest piece of Raptors history.
Personally, I think it’s best if we all stop revisiting the trade. Last year’s warm reception of Carter should have been the end of all of this, the proverbial hatchet buried as everyone’s healed enough to kind of move on. Most are over it, and I’ve long since moved to a place of just being appreciative of Carter being one of the primary reasons I’m even a basketball fan today.
But I get that with All-Star in Toronto, especially with Carter not being involved in the dunk contest, the history of the Raptors is going to come up. Carter put the Raptors on the map, the franchise fell on hard times (daddy), and what transpired between Carter, Babcock, and the franchise was unfortunate. As was the return in the trade. Carter’s since enjoyed a nice career with stops all over the NBA landscape, and I don’t think anybody who fell into the “Vince doesn’t even like basketball” trope ever thought he’d still be playing at 39.
It’s kind of weird, where Carter’s landed now. For how long I disliked the guy for basketball reasons, he’s now one of my favorite, most thoughtful interviews, and he’s probably No. 1 on my list of players I’d like to get a one-on-one with, from a professional standpoint. I guess it goes to show how time heals, and how people change, and how the benefit of both allow for a zooming out on the subject to really appreciate the entirety of the picture. Carter’s the best player in franchise history and its most important figure, and it’s important that the relationship between player, team, and fans is solid as Carter inches toward retirement and the Raptors re-ascend to prominence.
Now, stop booing Chris Bosh, too. Or I’ll literally fight you.