Saturday November 21 2009 – 6:44pm Eastern – Toronto, ON
Word out of the Raptors is that Magic guard Vince Carter has “respectfully declined any in-game recognition” during tomorrow’s tilt between Toronto and Orlando at the ACC.
The Raptors are celebrating their 15th anniversary this season and in doing so … they plan to “honour” former players and coaches throughout the year – when they come to town with their current clubs, etc.
The organization has already held similar “ceremonies” (a video on the big scoreboard, the player (or coach) being introduced to the crowd; they wave … have their moment in the spotlight … and the game moves on) for Charles Oakley and Alvin Williams and they apparently plan to also showcase guys like Morris Peterson, Matt Bonner, Jerome Williams, and Muggsy Bogues (and more) at future games as well.
The Raptors were prepared to do the same for Carter – knowing that the reaction/reception he’d get from the ACC faithful may not be pretty! Thus, they left it up to VC himself to decide if he wanted to take part in any kind of festivities.
And I can’t say I blame him. Carter was in a no-win situation. If he agreed to some sort of honouring, he would have (likely) been booed mercilessly — like it always is in his returns to Toronto — and, thus, there’d be no real point to subjecting himself to that. For what?
But now that he has said “no thanks” … I’m sure a ton of folks will still label him unfairly and say that he should have taken part.
Like I said, it was a no-win situation for VC.
I’ve been on the record many times in the past – and recently as well – saying this team may not be in Toronto right now if not for Vince Carter and what he did to put this city and organization on the map. He is still the greatest player – past or present – in franchise history (though Chris Bosh is right on his heels).
I had hoped that the fans of Toronto — even VC’s biggest critics — would have cheered Vince during the ceremony but then gone back to booing him (if they chose to) during the game; dislike him for what he is now … or what you think he became … but like him and cheer for him for what he did in the past and the impact he had on your team.
But it’s a moot point now.
Knowing the negative reaction he likely would have received … Carter opted to stay out of the spotlight. Instead, the Raptors are scheduled to honour their first head coach … current Magic assistant, Brendan Malone.
I hope when Carter’s career is over … folks can forgive and forget … and “Air Canada” will have his day in Toronto again. We might just have to wait for another 15 years to pass for that to happen though!
QUICK NOTES FROM PRACTICE ON SATURDAY:
- Marco Belinelli did not practice (sore left groin)
- Antoine Wright (ankle) and Andrea Bargnani did not practice … both were ill