Back in his heyday, Vince Carter was widely regarded as one of the greatest dunkers in NBA history. His legendary aerial skills played an integral role in putting the Toronto Raptors on the basketball map and Carter’s dunking rightfully helped earn him the nickname “Air Canada” for his mind-boggling high-flying efforts.
A couple of decades have passed since Carter’s peak dunking days back in the early 2000s, but fans still wonder why the long-time Raptor never participated in another dunk contest again after his iconic performance in 2000.
Carter had ample opportunities to make an encore appearance while still in his prime, but feels another at this point of his career that would only take away from the legacy of his one and only dunk contest masterpiece.
“We all go back and talk about the dunk contest from 2000 and what it did for people and where you were and all of that, and I know what it did for me. So I feel like to taint it, 18-19 years later, why?” Carter said during an appearance on The Ringer’s Winging It podcast.
“If I step on the court for someone to see a dunk, the first thing you’re going to think about is 2000,” he added. “And you’re gonna compare that to 18-19 years later. And that’s just too much time in between … What it did for me then, I don’t ever want to tarnish it. And I feel like going out there, I’m just trying to relive something that should be left alone. Just like when we think some of our classic movies, like let’s not reboot or remake, it’s a classic leave it alone.
“(In 2000) it didn’t matter, I could dunk fresh off the bus, fresh off the plane. Now, not so much.”
While his athletic ability isn’t nearly what it used to be, the soon-to-be 42-year-old still shows off some jump time and again. It was only fitting that just a few weeks ago, the Hawks veteran scored his 25,000th NBA point via a dunk, against the Raptors no less.