Volume 96, Issue 91
Friday, March 21, 2003

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"Vinsanity" alive and well

Straight up
Brian Cox
Gazette Staff

I'm tired of it. For the last year, the media, the fans and even his own NBA colleagues have lambasted Vince Carter. The bum leg, the North Carolina graduation, the lackluster defense, the McGrady feud, the Carter-less winning streak last year, the 2003 All-Star Game fiasco.

All of it haunts the sports columns, bar conversations and half-time chit-chat of our nation's basketball community. Enough already! Everyone voicing the same hypocritical scrutiny of Carter needs to rethink their argument.

The following, then, is directed at: the Toronto media, the slow-witted, hockey-playing basketball fans of the world and every former Vince fan-turned-hater – you know you'd love him again if he was dunking like a rookie.

Carter is not a wuss. It's patellar tendonitis (jumper's knee), not an ACL – but the name means something. Without his explosive first-step, or leaping ability, Vince is a different player. His teammates become dependent on a man who is forced to take long-jump shots and who is unable to get to the free throw line.

Carter is not a deserter. In the 2001 NBA playoffs, he attended his university commencement ceremony on the same day as game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Never mind the importance of both events. Carter promised his mother he would complete his college education. His younger brother Chris dropped out of high school addicted to cocaine. To set an example for your own family, and for that matter, every school-aged fan of the NBA, what would you do?

Vince Carter doesn't play good defense. Good for you. You picked up on it. Funny though, it didn't seem to bother you in the first two seasons when he was dunking over Dikembe Mutombo.

Vince Carter's personal relationships are his own. How he responds to Tracy McGrady trashing him in the media is for the tabloids. Similarly, McGrady left Toronto because he knew he could be a pimp in Orlando, not because Vince made him cry. 'Nuff said.

Vince Carter makes the Raptors a better team. Last season, Toronto nearly made the playoffs after rallying for a 13-game winning streak, all without Vince. Great, but I'm curious: in the 36 games Vince hasn't played in this season, how has Toronto done?

Vince Carter dunked over a 7'2" guy – in a game – as an expression of the anger he felt over being (originally) excluded from the American 2000 Sydney Olympic basketball team. Think of what he's going to do as an expression of the anger he feels for the legions of fans and media who have recklessly, and selfishly, abandoned him.


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