Volume 95, Issue 62

Wednesday, January 23, 2002
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Women bounce Waterloo

Mustangs Seeley the dealie

Western men earn straight set victory

Vince Carter gets case of hype -- AKA the sports plague

Vince Carter gets case of hype -- AKA the sports plague

For whom the bell tolls
Jordan Bell
Sports Editor

Boxer Muhammed Ali once said, "Champions have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."

Toronto Raptors forward Vince Carter definitely has the skill – that has never been in doubt. But whether or not he has the will, remains to be seen.

Carter, like many NBA stars before him like Jerry Stackhouse, Kobe Bryant and Grant Hill, was falsely deemed the 'Michael Jordan re-incarnate.'

Carter is the victim of the greatest ill of the American sports media monster – hype.

He came on the scene, throwing down gravity-defying dunks and posterizing many a hapless victim. But Carter has never shown a complete game and willingness to be the greatest player in the league.

As I watch my beloved Raptors every time they suit up, I come away with the same conclusion – Carter is a blatant waste of God-given talent.

There is no doubt he could easily be the best player in the league, but without the will Ali mentioned, Carter will never fully realize the gift he was given.

To compare him to 'His Airness' is an insult to everything Jordan did for the game of basketball.

Jordan was a complete player who was as equally adept on the defensive end as he was on the offensive end. But the main ingredient that made Jordan the legacy he has become was his ability to make those around him better. Just take a look at the 'post-Jordan' Scottie Pippen for evidence.

By contrast, Carter relies too heavily on his outside shooting. There is no doubt he can bury the rock, but this may be one of his major downfalls. He has had such great success from outside that he has forgotten that he could potentially draw a foul every time he penetrates.

In addition, Carter doesn't play a lick of defense and this is one of the major reasons the Raptors have such a difficult time on that end of the floor. The other four Raptor defenders are making up for Carter's stagnant effort.

Lastly, a glaring difference between Jordan and Carter is each's desire to be victorious. Jordan would have killed himself physically to defeat his opponent. His training methods were unparalleled and the greatest feeling for him come from mentally and physically destroying the five men who stood on the opposite side of the court.

Carter appears like he is playing a 'rec-league' game – high-fiving opposing players, smiling after missing a shot or committing a turnover and answering his critics by avoiding his leader status.

Placing Carter among the elite players in the league, such as Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson, is foolish. Carter has yet to show he has the willingness to perform to his full potential.

I will not sit here, as a washed-up basketball player and condemn Carter for not taking a stance. Maybe he wants to play the game and have a grand time while he does it. But unfortunately, it just seems like one of the sporting world's greatest tragedies.

Note: I will have horrific nightmares after writing this column but it had to be said. I still love you Vince.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001