As a small child, the Raptors had a special place in my heart. Not because of their location North of the border, or even their success as a team, which was not really a thing. Hell, I couldn’t have named two players in their starting lineup. My love for the Raptors stemmed from my infatuation with dinosaurs.
Around the time my love for dinosaurs peaked, the video game era was just beginning. 2K, now the most popular basketball game in the world, was just coming to fruition. The Raptors were of course my go-to team, and after years of playing with them in their classic purple uniforms, Vince Carter became my favorite player.
Now my appreciation for Carter may not have been formed off of anything more than his insane dunking ability in a video game, but at the time he was setting a precedent for hoopers everywhere, especially in Toronto. He averaged 18.3 points in his Rookie of the Year campaign then averaged over 20.0 points per game for ten consecutive seasons, all while becoming the posterizing champion of the world. When he was traded from Toronto, he left as the greatest Raptor ever. Today, he remains the best to ever represent the North.
This is why:
Happy Birthday, Vince Carter (41). Vince Carter Ranks His Top 10 Career NBA Dunks pic.twitter.com/GtZKWCjpWL
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) January 26, 2018
Carter will undeniably go down as one of the most exciting players in NBA history, but he will also be remembered for another insane characteristic, longevity. Tuesday night, the Atlanta Hawks announced they would be signing Vince Carter to a one-year contract, allowing him to play his 21st season in the NBA. He averaged 5.4 points in 58 games last season with the Sacramento Kings.
The Hawks do not really have much to lose this season, as they are the team in the NBA most obviously tanking as the 2018-2019 season approaches. This team would be extremely lucky to reach thirty wins this season, so adding Carter may give fans around the city a reason to come to a game. After all, the 41-year old can still throw one down, and the nostalgia of the legend that is Vince Carter is real.
Besides being an attraction for fans in the Atlanta area, Carter’s veteran presence should be valuable on a team that is full of younger developing players. The Hawks hope Taurean Prince can continue to improve into an All-Star caliber player as he enters his third season. Like Prince, Carter entered the league needing to improve his shooting. He enters his 21st season a career 37.3% shooter from behind the arc. Prince and the rest of the Hawks young core will take a liking to what Carter can bring from a mental aspect. It is not like Carter has not been on some bad teams during his career.
It should be fun seeing Old Man Vince, in perhaps his final NBA season, with the Hawks.