Six-foot-six shooting guard/small forward Vince Carter has represented the role as a trailblazer throughout his basketball career both in college and the pros. A winner of the Florida 6A State High School Basketball Championships, recipient of the USA Today, Parade, and McDonald’s, All-American honors, also voted he Florida’s 1995 High School Basketball Player of the Year, Vince Carter garnered a lot of recognition for his basketball talents. From 1995-98 he led an All Star cast of Tar Heels in North Carolina University to successive ACC Tournament Finals and an ensuing presence in the Final Four. Vince Carter along with his big man teammate Rasheed Wallace was determined to be a bona fide NBA All Star after a performing stellar career as a Tar Heel court leader. Like Air Jordan he is 6’6 and well versatile at both the small forward/big guard positions. He is a very skilled dribbler and has great hops, enabling him to exhibit a slam dunk similar, or even better than what one would see at a high circus act (Vince Carter in High School – catches alley oop, 2013). And while many have enjoyed playing alongside Carter and his high-flying abilities, there are those who simply did not like sharing the court with Carter.
15 Loved: Dirk Nowitzki
As a Dallas Maverick, Vince Carter spent a lot of time celebrating, hopping alongside exuberantly, and joking with his former teammate Dirk Nowitzki. Onlookers could easily tell that the two reveled in playing with each other. In a win against the Milwaukee Bucks both teammates could be seen on the court jumping up and down straight high up in the air while targeting each other. No surprise, the Mavericks won that game.
Just before a pre-season matchup, following the year Vince Carter was traded from the Dallas Mavericks to the Memphis Grizzlies, a normally grumpy looking Carter was seen smiling from ear to ear as he met with his now former teammate Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki was still representing the Dallas Mavericks and while behaving like juveniles the pair executed a unique, chummy handshake. Basketball fans could see that there was obviously something special going on between the two.
14 Hated: Antonio Davis
On the eve of a game seven decider in the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals, Vince Carter was about to make one of the most important decisions of his life. Before he decided to leave the University North Carolina after his junior year instead of first completing his senior year, he made a promise to his mother that he would go back to school and graduate. Unfortunately his school’s official graduation ceremony was set to take place on the afternoon of the same day his Toronto Raptors were to play the crucial Game 7 matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. His teammate Antonio Davis openly stated that he should do everything necessary to prepare himself for this important game by skipping his graduation. He said if he was in the same situation he would not go. Vince Carter insisted that he should attend his graduation. His mother, a former teacher, was still demanding that he keep his promise to her that he would not forsake his graduation. Vince Carter attended his graduation at the University of North Carolina and then afterwards on the same day flew over to Philadelphia to play with his teammates for Game 7. The Raptors unfortunately lost that game by a point. When asked by the media how he felt about Vince Carter’s decision to attend his graduation he communicated bluntly “no comment”. Antonio Davis definitely was not pleased with his teammate.
13 Loved: Morris Peterson
NBA players and coaches alike who played around and against Vince Carter will at times speak in awe of the player’s unnatural ability to elevate his feet high up in the air like a rocket missile. After dunking over the helpless 7’2 goliath Frederick Weiss, during the Olympics, his Toronto Raptors’ teammates would often glare or at least sneak peeks at his feats during team practices jut to a glimpse of the heights of what this player can do. His buddy, Mo Peterson, was one of those players. He stated that during practices he would lob the ball extremely high over the basket or in awkward positions in order to see whether his teammate could catch it. Vince Carter would yell back wondering why he would lob the ball so high up in the air. Mo Peterson would reply that he just wanted to see whether he would be able to catch the ball.
12 Hated: Rafer Alston
Vince Carter is well known for his fancy dunks and tough, hardnosed play. Unfortunately for Vince Carter his acrobatic, windmill dunks invited more precise concentration toward him on the court, along with very physical, gritty defense from his opponents. Vince Carter was often in pain and expressed it with injuries. His game slowed down. His then Toronto Raptor teammate, Rafer Alston, questioned Vince Carter’s reaction to tough play. Rafael was not fully convinced that Vince Carter was giving it his all during both games and practice. He even implied that Vince Carter cost the Raptors’ games through a lack of performance. Vince Carter having difficulty overcoming such suspicions from both players and fans alike was eventually traded to the New Jersey Nets.
11 Loved: Charles Oakley
Charles Oakley, an often forgotten All Star veteran, who is known by NBA historians to have aided Michael Jordan toward his growth from power dunking NBA newbie to all-around best basketball player ever, highly influenced Vince Carter’s early years in the NBA as well. Charles represented one of several Raptor veteran teammates who spent quality time with Vince often showing him tips on succeeding as a better basketball player, helping the team win more games, and even improving his professional attitude towards life in itself. While they both played for the Toronto Raptors, Charles often sat next to Vince Carter during games, tutoring his cadet on how to recognize defenses. That's what you call love when it comes to basketball.
10 Hated: Kevin Willis
The 1999-00 Toronto Raptors was laden with All Stars as well as veterans. The team was backed up with veterans like the aforementioned Charles Oakley, ready to tutor when needed. Unfortunately, not all of them was a big fan of Vince Carter. Vince was a great player and brought with him on the court the capability of performing eye widening offensive moves and making explosive dunks that will make one say “Wow!” but some of the team veterans were expecting more. Kevin Willis wanted an outspoken, candid leader. One who brought more to the team then just dunks. He believed that Vince was ignoring a lot of the little things concerning the team as well as the game that distanced them from reaching the champion level. Vince never reached that quality leadership level with the Toronto Raptors that season. The team finished the regular season at an okay 45 – 37 but the response after being eliminated 0-3 in the first round by the New York Knicks, demanded more maturity from someone whom players expected to be a leader. Unfortunately for Vince Carter things can still go rough at times, even on an All Star laden team blessed with talented star veterans. The 1999 – 2000 was the season when the Toronto Raptors were expected to raise storm in the NBA led by two warrior ready cousins: Tracy McGrady and of course, Vince Carter. But of course that did not happen. Part of the blame for the problem was voiced by teammate Kevin Willis.
9 Loved: Zach Randolph
Zach Randolph, current power forward for the Memphis Grizzly, has given Vince Carter a greater purpose in the game then just exhibiting slam dunks. Something that Kevin Willis would have greatly appreciated. Zach Randolph enjoys playing with Vince Carter so much he candidly stated to the press that their team, the Memphis Grizzlies, need to sign him up for a new deal. He does not want Vince to retire. He still got some game. Vince Carter has played the role of tutor and counselor to the former Michigan State one and done. Maybe this is Vince Carter’s way of transitioning his career to a future head coach? Either way, it is clear that Carter and Randolph have built a strong relationship in Memphis.
8 Hated: Chris Childs
Of all of Vince Carter’s decisions that irked his teammates and fans the most, attending graduation ceremonies at his alma mater North Carolina University before his Raptor’s Game 7 playoff matchup against the 76ers seems to top the list. The decision angered several of his teammates including the aforementioned Antonio Davis. Another former Raptors’ teammate who was displeased with Vince Carter’s decision was Chris Childs. When asked by the media how he felt about Vince Carter skipping team practice while other teammates supported Vince, Childs gave several abrupt “no comment.” When asked whether Carter’s attending his graduation ceremony versus meeting the team at practice affected his game Childs replied that he is not the right person to ask that question. He publicly refused to back up his teammate. He seemed to believe that Vince Carter’s trip to his ceremony cost their team the playoff series.
7 Loved: Dee Brown
Another one of Vince Carter’s many basketball buddies and mentors was Dee Brown. Dee Brown played together with Vince Carter on the Toronto Raptors team from 1999-2001. They entertained a slightly above average team that yearly would either lose in the first or second playoff round. Dee Brown and Vince Carter got along real good together. Dee Brown portrayed a positive role model as a point guard for their team giving Vince Carter pointers on how to carry himself both inside and outside the court. Vince returned Dee Brown’s kindheartedness by taking the heat one game against the Knicks when Brown missed a wide-open shot after receiving the ball from a driving Vince Carter who was being double teamed. He stated that he should have taken that shot himself.
6 Hated: Dell Curry
In the Toronto Raptor’s 2001 Game 7 loss versus the Knicks, then hot shooting Dell Curry inbounded the ball to Vince Carter. With two seconds left in the game and Dell Curry the obvious superior clutch shooter, Vince instead took the final shot but missed, therefore sealing the loss for the Toronto Raptors and the ticket out the door of the 2001 NBA playoffs. Dell Curry was not given the opportunity to be the hero of the game. Yes, Vince Carter was the more popular for his fancy, sky scraping dunks and eye balling stop and go moves but Dell Carter pure and simply was a better knockdown shot maker. Even his son Steph Curry is still upset at then Toronto Raptor’s coach Lenny Wilkens decision to not allow is dad to take the final shot of the game.
5 Loved: Doug Christie
Doug Christie, shooting guard for the Toronto Raptors, often played the role as a great assist man for the high flying Vince Carter. One popular online video shows Doug Christie throwing the ball up in the air toward the basket with a defender in his face. Doug Christie’s body shot up in perfect form as if attempting to make a typical long range shot. Instead Vince Carter leaps up toward the rim out of nowhere and one hand slams the ball through the net. That’s the sign of a great two man team. Vince Carter enjoyed playing with Doug Christie. Doug would push Vince hard during each practice enabling the two to work on accomplishing terrific, fans entertaining highlights. They also worked on winning each game of course.
4 Hated: Jerome Williams
Jerome Williams thought he had hit the gold mine when his former team the Detroit Pistons traded him to the Toronto Raptors back on February 22, 2001. The Raptors was the up and coming team loaded with great talent such as: Chris Childs, Morris Peterson, Alvin Williams, Dell Curry, and yours truly Vince Carter. The Toronto Raptors were having an extraordinary summer, a successful last half of the season, and winning the first half of the next season. Jerome Williams believed he was headed to the NBA Finals, not quite. Vince Carter got hurt and all the success and winning scurried down the drain. Jerome still talks about all the excitement during that time and the disappointment afterwards. He wishes he could go back. It felt disappointing for the team not being able to take that next step toward success.
3 Loved: Jason Kidd
With memories of the Toronto Raptors headlining Vince Carter’s career along with all the drama involving his cousin Tracy McGrady, many NBA fans will forget that Vince Carter actually played with Jason Kidd from 2004 to 2008. Vince Carter fans can thank Jason Kidd for helping rejuvenate the young Jordan’s career during a time when some members of management were beginning to doubt him. Both players combined to form a dynamic point scoring duo with Jason Kidd basically often handing the ball off to him after making a few dribbles. Vince Carter would then finish the play with a swoosh or an easy layup either in front of or basically over his defenders’ heads. Watching the two effortlessly attack opposing teams while making baskets often resembled a version of adults playing against a JV squad. One wonders how many championships the two could have one together if one big All Star center was added to the squad. If they would have just stuck with that model for a couple of more years. Then again NBA fans have been saying the same thing about Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady.
2 Hated: Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter were that often spoken about cousin pair; two friends who were provided the gift of being given the chance to play together on an NBA team. How many times does this happen? Besides the NHL or professional soccer, such an occurrence is extremely rare. But the long lasting Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen relationship between the two did not happen. Both would end up splitting up. McGrady separated from Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors after the 1999-00 season, leaving his cousin confused. Vince Carter felt sad and abandoned by his tag team partner. The two were playing well together, making the playoffs, filling the arena. But Tracy McGrady was not feeling happy. He felt that he was being too crowded out with all the attention Vince was getting. He wanted to carve out a niche for himself. Vince Carter’s mom even said that Tracy got tired of constantly hearing about Vince. Vince did not like that Tracy felt that way about him but did not feel like there was anything he could do about it so just kept on playing.
1 Loved: Courtney Lee
Vince Carter can often be seen on the basketball court with a serious and at times sour look on his face. But there are times when he does smile or even openly jokes around. One memorable moment was when Vince Carter, while playing for the Memphis Grizzlies, smacked the crap out of Courtney Lee. This crazy scene of violence occurred after Courtney lobbed a long pass to Jeff Green producing the game winning basket against the Phoenix Suns. Initially, Courtney Lee’s face appears sinister as if one should easily expect a fisticuff matchup to occur. Instead, the scene turns into wild, silly ruckus, with the teammates seemingly enjoying a party on the court. The frenzy reminds one of how much fun playing basketball can be if combined with a little sense of humor.