At one point, he was the icon of the Toronto Raptors. He was our hero…he was our shining light…he was hope for greatness…he was going to lead us to a championship. All of those hopes and dreams were dashed when he decided he did not want to play anymore (at least not for the Raptors). Not only did he crush a city, but he crushed the whole country! Now, look on the flip side – why would he do that to a city that loved him so much? Throughout his tenure with the Raptors, each season showed signs of greatness, for himself and the team. He was at an all time high (especially right after the best all star break) – he was awarded rookie of the year, the Raptors made it to the first round of playoffs and then they made it to the second round the following year (and they pushed that series to a Game 7, where they had as good a shot as any to win that game). But then things started to fall apart…his supporting cast was slowly dismantled…and he was left to carry the whole team on his shoulders. When you have experienced nothing but excitment and hope throughout your career, could you really go back to rock bottom and start again? Except now, you have all these expectations – your teammates, your coaches, your city. Now let’s forget that he earned millions of dollars and just think of him as a human being…who would want that? I admit that he handled everything VERY poorly and he could have been more professional about everything, but I hope to that we can at least see why he may have reacted that way. It was just much easier to start over in another city and on another team. He has paid for that decision every time he steps on the courts at the ACC, but all that energy from boo-ing was once positive energy for cheering. Toronto will either love you or hate you and it will be an extreme case of one or the other. We are a very passionate city.
I choose…love him
Now let me justify…we are always told to give thanks – at Thanksgiving (for food), at Christmas (for family), at church (for our soul), on Good Friday (for our sins being forgiven) (although I am not a devout catholic, I still give thanks) – we should always be thankful. I believe we should thank Vince Carter – he put the Raptors on the map. He made the Raptors the most exciting team to watch. He fueled love for basketball in a city that is known to be a hockey city. Vancouver lost their teams only a few seasons in, that could have been us? I believe VC contributed to the Raptors stayed put in the tee dot. But I also understand, we love to hate him :)