Sorry, Sam

Originally published in SLAM 84

So Vince Carter wants out. Or maybe he doesn’t. Guess it depends what day it is. It’s all been kind of downhill since he bounced on the day of the biggest game of his career to get his degree (and rimmed out the would-be game winner that night). Or maybe it all started with the 2000 Olympics, when he jumped over Fred Weis’s head, setting the already unreachable bar even higher. Or maybe—just maybe—it had all been in decline since the 2000 Dunk Contest, when he turned an arena into a video game screen and fellow high-fliers into jaw-dropped fans. It would be his only Dunk Contest appearance—even he knew that was something to cherish, not try and improve upon. But rather than rehash everything Scoop discussed last issue in Game Point, let’s instead focus on what happens next.

What’s next needs to be what was. Happiness and hoppiness. All problems aside, Vince, you’re the NBA’s rep for all of Canada. And with hockey on hold, you don’t have the Maple Leafs to distract folks. This is the chance to prove the NBA can thrive in the North.

So smile a li’l. While you’re at it, lose the fallaways and the deep threes. Save ’em for when you need them—the way MJ did. You’re still hugely popular, you just need to get back to what earned you that popularity in the first place: that is, driving hard and shoving the ball down shotblockers’ throats. Yup, that’s it.

Russ Bengtson