01-22-2014, 05:07 PM
a Die Hard die hard.
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The dog house.
Here is someone considerably out of touch on how Wince is regarded in Toronto:
Carter reflects on 'Vinsanity' era, his role shaping Canadian basketball | Dallas Morning News
TORONTO — Mavericks fans have seen glimpses of Vince Carter’s greatness.
They can only imagine what it must have been like to see the man they called Vinsanity, Air Canada and Half-Man, Half-Amazing when he was doing all the acrobatic dunks and hang-time highlights that made him a legend in Toronto.
He’s as revered as any athlete in Toronto history who doesn’t play hockey, as evidenced by the dozen or so local reporters who wanted interviews with Carter after the Mavericks worked out at the Air Canada Centre practice court.
In short, he was basketball in this pucks-crazy town.
And Carter, in his second season with the Mavericks, has the memories embedded in his mind like snapshots.
“I remember when Vinsanity started, from an article [in the newspaper],” Carter said. “I remember when Half-Man, Half-Amazing started.
“I remember making the first basket here in history [at Air Canada Centre]. You can’t change that. Winning rookie of the year here, you can’t change that. Winning that dunk contest and putting Toronto on the [basketball] map, you can’t change that. Those are all historical to me. I put all three of those as one.”
Those are the first things Carter thinks of when he comes back to Toronto, where he teamed with Tracy McGrady in their young, other-worldly athletic days.
At 37, Carter still gets airborne as well as some of the kids that have followed in his ozone layer. He threw down a remarkable dunk against Portland on Saturday, and he breaks out those jaw-droppers on occasion.
But when he walked into the Raptors’ practice gym, he could really appreciate the trip back in time to when his aerial “wow” moments were plentiful.
“Of all the times I’ve been back, this is probably just my second time to come back to the practice facility,” Carter said. “This is where everything was created. This is where it was all built. Me, the team, winning our first playoff game — this is where it started. This is where I can say Oak [Charles Oakley] grabbed me over there at the 3-point line and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to make you a player in this league.’ That’s where the memories were made.”
Carter played for Toronto from 1998 to Dec. 17, 2004, when he was traded to New Jersey. Carter’s jersey will be retired someday by the Raptors. It’ll happen after his career is over. It wouldn’t be surprising if Toronto signed Carter to a ceremonial one-day contract so he could retire a Raptor.
He’s not the only former Raptor making a return to Toronto with the Mavericks for Wednesday’s game. Jose Calderon was with the Raptors for seven-plus seasons, a run that ended last season, when he was traded twice.
He made his first return to Air Canada Centre as an opponent last April and received a standing ovation. He even went to the wrong locker room by mistake when he first entered the building.
While Calderon is adored, Carter is idolized. It’s not uncommon to see Carter jerseys dotting the stands at Raptors games.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is aware of the distractions for players such as Carter and Calderson when they return as fan favorites.
“I know how those things are for former players and former coaches like myself,” Carlisle said. “I can’t wait to get the ball thrown up and get on with the game. But these guys were both here a long time and were high-impact guys. These things can be emotional. The key is to get beyond the emotions.”
Carter said he’s treating it like a business trip. But sometimes that’s easier said than done.
On Monday in Cleveland, Carter got a chance to visit with Tristan Thompson, the Cavaliers’ young forward and a Toronto native.
“I had Tristan in my basketball camp many years ago,” Carter said. “It’s a pleasure and an honor. For one, it says I’ve been around a very long time. I mean, for them to have my poster on their wall when their mom’s reading them bedtime stories, and now I’m playing against these guys? I’m still a little uneasy about that part of it. But it’s a testament to how Canadian basketball has evolved and the boom that happened during that time.”
It was a boom Carter helped make happen, one giant, gravity-defying leap at a time.
Follow Eddie Sefko on Twitter at @ESefko