It’s been a long time since Vince Carter suited up for the Toronto Raptors but the 40-year-old still has a soft spot in his heart for his former team.
In a recent interview with The Undefeated’s Marc Spears, Carter was asked about returning to Toronto with other teams over the years and in his response, he indicated he hopes the Raptors retire his No. 15 one day.
“Of course, I’d like for [the Raptors] to retire my jersey,” Carter said. “You’d always like your jersey retired. That is where it’s started. There have been talks about it. People talk about it, and I’m very thankful for it.”
The topic came up after DeMarcus Cousins recently returned to Sacramento for the first time after being traded to New Orleans last season. Carter, who now plays for the Kings, had a great view as Cousins was warmly received by the crowd last week and then put up 41 points in the Pelicans’ win.
That was very different than when Carter, a six-time all-star with the Raptors, returned to Toronto for the first time in 2005. His trade to New Jersey in December 2014 came during a losing season and left many fans frustrated. He put up 20 points and seven rebounds in the Nets win that night, as boos rained down from the stands.
“The first time back for me [to Toronto] was tough because the situation was different for me. [Cousins] walked into a room of cheers. I didn’t,” Carter said. “It was tough, but at the same time it ignited a fire and I went out there and played well. Every player will say that going back to one of your old stops, you want to play well. It’s nothing different than any other player.”
In recent years Raptors fans have come around to Carter, and many believe the surge in Canadian talent in the NBA is a direct result of his dominant years with the team in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
If the Raptors ever decided to retire Carter’s number, you can be sure fans would give him a warm welcome. And Carter is ready to embrace them, too.
“At the end of the day, every player’s end result is to see their jersey hanging in the rafters somewhere,” Carter said. “[Toronto] is where it started. Hopefully I will get that opportunity.”