For 3 many years we’ve lined many wonderful basketball characters, however some stand above the remainder—not solely due to their on-court abilities (although these are at all times related), however due to how they influenced and proceed to affect basketball tradition, and thus influenced SLAM. In the meantime, SLAM has additionally modified these gamers’ lives in varied methods, as we’ve documented their careers with basic covers, legendary images, wonderful tales, compelling movies and extra.
We compiled a gaggle of people (programming observe: 30 entries, not 30 individuals whole) who imply one thing particular to SLAM and to our viewers. Learn the full record right here and order your copy of SLAM 248, the place this record was initially printed, right here.
The best play within the coolest sport on the planet is the slam dunk. We find it irresistible a lot we named our journal after it, and we’re hardly alone in our obsession/fascination. And as neat as they are often in contrived dunk contests or glorified exhibition video games that will additionally go by the names “streetball” and “All-Star Video games,” the best dunks of all occur in video games. And NBA video games are the best type of the sport on the planet. And now, for everybody from the entrance to the again to listen to loud and clear: VINCE CARTER IS THE GREATEST IN-GAME DUNKER IN HISTORY.
The run he went on throughout his truncated Rookie of the Yr marketing campaign in 1999 by means of the Sydney Olympics in 2000 [Doug Collins: “He jumped OVER HIS HEAD”] and possibly one other season or two in Toronto had by no means been seen earlier than. “Fantastic,” you say. “Dunkers have advanced. Elgin to Doc to MJ to Vince. After all somebody on the flip of the millennium was iller than a dude from the ’70s.” Yeah, effectively, nobody has carried out it like that since both. And it’s been greater than twenty years! Undergo the SLAM archives and skim the SLAMadamonths from again then. They have been virtually all Vince, and solely Russ may make the monotony appear recent. Or if YouTube’s extra your factor, right here’s a PSA that might be previous information to longtime SLAM and SLAMonline readers however new to a lot of you: Go to YT and seek for “Matt Adam’s Notorious Vince Carter Mixtape” and sit again. 9-plus minutes of pleasure, and irrefutable proof of the in-game dunker assertion I made earlier.
If Figs and SPT instructed me to jot down 250 or so phrases about VC’s inclusion on this unique record, I’d name it a day and really feel my work is completed. That’s how memorable and impactful Vince Carter’s run because the GOAT dunker was.
Alas, they want extra phrases, and he really impacted the sport three different big-time methods.
The primary is that he saved the NBA in Canada. When Carter obtained traded to the Raptors on Draft night time in 1998, they stunk and their colleagues in Vancouver have been even worse—and on the quick monitor to shifting to Memphis. Carter’s arrival on NBA courts, recent off a horrible lockout and the retirement of Michael Jordan, was a boon to the whole League, certain, however it had precise resonance in Canada. “Essentially the most thrilling participant within the NBA performs in Toronto,” was not a sentence anybody—not to mention Canucks—ever anticipated to utter. He the North, certainly. To not hold supplying you with video-watching assignments, however there’s actually a documentary about this: The Carter Impact. Stream and study.
One other unimaginable truth about Carter that deserves main props is that he performed the third-most video games in NBA historical past. Greater than Stockton and Malone. Greater than KG. Greater than LeBron (at the least if you learn this). The one gamers who’ve performed extra video games than Vince Carter are Robert Parish and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who’re ineligible for this record as a result of they didn’t play within the SLAM period (the Chief did barely, however you get the purpose). So at 1,541, Vince Carter is the games-played chief in SLAM historical past. Additional inexorable proof of his relevance and in addition a stat that you simply by no means would have fathomed in these early days when he was actually leaping over defenders. As a result of as you’d think about, that fashion of play got here with damage danger, and for a lot of his profession, VC was labeled injury-prone. However he obtained higher at avoiding contact, obtained higher at capturing from distance and morphed right into a locker-room favourite who may present some pop off the bench till he was 43 years younger.
Final however not least, VC deserves everlasting props for his affect on the sneaker sport. He performed in fly Nikes and Jordans at UNC earlier than changing into the uncommon NBAer to rock Pumas as an NBA rookie. By his second 12 months within the L, he was having points with Puma and had a stretch of de facto free company. This led to him sporting the AND1 Tai Chis for the 2000 Dunk Contest. No shade to these sneakers, that are classics, however it says right here that Vince’s iconic sporting of them is the explanation the sneakers have lived on to at the present time. VC circled again to Nike for the steadiness of his profession and rocked pure warmth. To cite the well-known marketing campaign and one of many extra genius SLAMadamonths in Russ’ oeuvre: “Boing.”
Photograph through Getty Pictures.