A jersey hanging in the rafters is one of the highest honors a player can achieve. These rafter spots are reserved only for championship teams and the individual legends of the sport. My goal is to find the unsung heroes of the NBA and petition to have them honored in the rafters as well.
-Vince Carter’s Knee Cartilage-
Nobody will ever dunk quite like Vince Carter. His dunks are the perfect combination of ferocity and grace. Watching him dunk is kind of like biting into a burrito, tasting the warm embrace of the melted cheese and tortilla, and believing the world isn’t such a bad place after all. Then having your taste buds blindside bitch slapped by the volcanic heat of the habanero sauce and realizing that every Jack Johnson song is a complete lie.
When Carter initiates the launch sequence his body seems to effortlessly float into the air. He goes up with enough elegance and poise to make the Queen of England feel insecure. His body never tenses up before jumping, it stays fluid and relaxed making his 43″ vertical leap look inexplicably peaceful. Let’s just say if Vince Carter would’ve been alive in the 1700’s and just happened to stumble upon Isaac Newton giving a demonstration on the laws of gravity, he could’ve just hit him with a quick windmill dunk and Newton would’ve been like “Ah shit, my bad fam. Guess I was wrong about the whole gravity thing.”
The way he comes down with the ball is a whole different story. There’s no peaceful floating sensation. When Vince decides it’s time to come back down after his vacation from the physical limitations of the human body, we are no longer watching a ballet played out in the air. We are now witnessing an all out attack. The poor, innocent rims never even get the chance to say goodbye to their families before being massacred at the hands of a 6’6″ atomic bomb. He hits the rim with so much power and anger that even the incredible hulk would be like “Damn”. His dunks are so devastating that whenever I watch him jam on live T.V. I feel like I need to call my family just to make sure they’re ok.
You know that famous Muhammad Ali quote “Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee”? He should’ve just said “Float like Vince Carter. Sting like Vince Carter.” Every time Vince Carter takes off it feels like the entire stadium holds their breathe….then BAM! The ball goes through the hoop and the crowd explodes to their feet screaming. Even the fans from the opposing team can’t help it. The way he dunks is so captivating that for a split-second everyone watching is completely incapable of thinking about anything other than what they just saw. That’s how incredible his dunks are. They literally give us an escape from our cares and make us experience a moment of pure amazement.
Vinsanity’s legacy will live forever, and there’s no doubt that his jersey will hang in the Toronto rafters, but I believe there’s another hero in Vince’s story that deserves its own banner…. His knee cartilage. The fact that Vince can still dunk after abusing his knees with super human leaping for this long is incredible. My grandpa can hardly walk around the block because his knees hurt all the time, and pop-pop never dunked over a 7’2″ French guy in the Olympics! Plus, grandpa is 76 years old which is like 28 years younger than Vince Carter in NBA years. Vince’s knees have sacrificed themselves day in and day out for 20 NBA seasons. These knees have been around so long they’ve chased two generations of Currys off the three line. People say that after a nuclear attack cockroaches will be the only thing left living on earth, but I’m 10000% sure that Vince’s knees will still be around too. For this, I believe Vince Carter’s knee cartilage deserves its own banner hanging in the rafters of the Air Canada Centre.