With Vince Carter, aka Air Canada, officially retiring last week, let’s take a look at Carter’s lengthy NBA career. The eight-time all-star came into the league in 1998 when he was drafted by the Warriors with the 5th pick but immediately traded to the Raptors on draft night.
Carter played his first six and a half seasons in Toronto, where he became a star, winning a slam dunk contest and going to five all-star games. During Carter’s seventh season, he was traded to the New Jersey Nets. This trade came after months of speculation. It was thought that Carter was unhappy in Toronto and wanted to be moved. Carter, the once Toronto hero, was now hated by the entire city and even got booed at first when he would return to play the Raptors.
Carter continued to put up great numbers in his four and a half seasons in New Jersey, even making three all-star games over that span. Eventually, Carter was traded to the Magic, where his all-star days were behind him. He played a season and a half in Orlando and was solid, but he eventually was traded to the Phoenix Suns. After a decent half-season with the Suns, Carter signed a three year deal with the Mavericks. Vince had a solid three years in Dallas, providing good scoring off the bench and even hitting a game-winner in the playoffs.
After his deal with the Mavericks was up, Vince signed with the Grizzlies where he spent three seasons and his career began to slow down. After his time in Memphis was up, Vince signed a one-year deal with the Kings. Following his lone season with the Kings, Vince was nearing the end of his career. The 41-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Hawks and eventually would sign an additional one-year deal in Atlanta to close out his career.
Vince Carter will always be known as a great dunker and the man who brought basketball to life in Canada. Although he was hated by Raptors fans when he was first traded from Toronto, he was eventually forgiven by most of them and is now once again seen as a Toronto legend. Vince has an amazing 22-year career and will be remembered as an all-time great.