The NBA is a truly special place, and with the start of a new season on the horizon, we intend on honoring such a place the only way we know how: raising a glass to the gentlemen of the league. The vets. The ring chasers. The old dudes who keep gettin’ them checks. These are they. And they are perfect. Clink-clink...
There was a certain small timeframe in the early 2000s—somewhere between little league and weed—when after-school days consisted of copious amounts of driveway pick-up games to avoid doing homework and such. My friends and I would bike over to an agreed upon location (often my mom’s house), captain up and pick teams (much like the new All-Star Game format), and lower the rim to a tantalizing eight feet. That last part was crucial: these games were much less about winning, and 100 percent more about dunking your next door neighbor’s head in. They were about igniting sweet basketball napalm onto a driveway—electrifying teammates and surrounding friends alike. In short, we all just wanted to be Vince Carter, Half-Man, Half-Amazing.
So without further ado, let us raise our glasses to the many times you, Vince Carter, who is definitely listening right now, filled our lives with true happiness.
To the time you jumped clear over that 7-foot-2 French dude—you dunked pure fear and adrenaline into the lives of millions around the world that day, and we thank you for it.
Do you remember how you reacted with such fury? How those two EuroSports announcers yelped and hollered as if a pot of hot coffee had been poured down the front of their trouser slacks? How the crowd erupted until they could find their eyeballs which had been launched out of their sockets and onto the arena floor? I’ll never forget any of it.
And to the time you won the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest, defeating Steve Francis and Tracy McGrady in what would go on to be the greatest slam dunk contest of all time.
Your 360-windmills always had the subtle grace of a ballerina and the ferocity of a heavyweight boxer. I’ve never been more sure of something being over than the time you slit your own throat and declared, “It’s over.”
And let’s not forget the time you starred in your own Nike commercial as prolific Rucker Park icon, “Dr. Funk.”
Let us forever cherish the sick, behind-the-back dime lob that dude threw you that night…for it fell into your windmilling arms ever so perfectly.
Vince, who was once the human embodiment of a velociraptor in a pair of Nike Shox, is no longer the high-flying acrobat he used to be. You’re 40 now, Vince. Your buzzer beating days are in the rearview, and you’re on your last legs with an evolving Sacramento Kings team, instilling what last bit of magic you have left into the minds of NBA youngsters. So here’s to you, my guy. May your remaining years sitting courtside be filled with infinite amounts of chill, wisdom, and sizable paychecks. Cheers.