Earlier this week, Vince Carter agreed to a one-year-deal to return to the Atlanta Hawks for his last NBA season, which will make him the only NBA player to have played in 4 different decades. Though his services as a player may not have been in high demand this offseason, he should be highly sought after as he looks to go into broadcasting once his playing days are over. Letting his flame go out in Atlanta, where TNT’s studios are located, might have been a wise decision, and could have had an impact on his decision to stay with the Hawks. While it may come as heartbreaking news to Raptors fans who were inspired by his electricity as a player during his tenure North of the border, it should not come as a surprise.
Carter originally announced that he would be back for one final season, as he spoke to fans live from Jurassic Park prior to Game 3 of The Finals on ESPN’s The Jump. Though it was not at the forefront of any Raptors fans minds at the time, it definitely gave some die-hards hope that they might see their idol return home for one last ride.
After Bobby Webster and Masai Ujiri inked Cameron Payne to a two-year deal, making him the 15th guaranteed player on their roster, there was virtually no chance of a VC return – at least not this summer. By signing the 6’3 point guard from Chicago, the most that Carter could have gotten from the Raptors would be a two-way contract, and while he previously stated that “it would be a cool situation” to come back to Canada, it would be unjust to see a legend like Vince play his last days in Mississauga.
Even though we may not see Vince wear those OVO jerseys beside Matt Thomas and Pascal Siakam next season, we’ll always have The Carter Effect brought to us by yours truly, LeBron James, and photos like the one below. We can always wear our purple dino jerseys proudly, reminding people that the greatest dunker ever began his career in our overlooked city, here in Canada.
Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the 2019-2020 regular season schedule will be released on Monday at 3:00 PM E.T., so keep an eye out for Atlanta’s final game in Toronto – it might be one of the most memorable tickets next season.
Barring any moves from Masai before the trade deadline, it seems VC has played his last game in Toronto. While there’s still some hard feelings towards how he left, it’s important to understand how much he did for basketball in this country. Maybe we would have been re-located like the Vancouver Grizzlies, if he didn’t put Toronto on the map of the basketball world. Maybe a lot of the young Canadian NBA players right now wouldn’t have been inspired to play the sport if not for Vinsanity.
Now, as champions, it comes full circle. Make sure you let him know how much we appreciate what he did for our team, and for our country, regardless of how sour it may have ended. And as Dr. Seuss said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”