Did you see what Vince Carter did the other night?
When Vince Carter arrived at UNC in the summer of 1995, he was known as one of the most athletic recruits the Tar Heels had ever brought in. Turns out, Carter was more of an athlete than a basketball player, and Dean Smith eventually took away his starting position in favor of fellow frosh Ademola Okulaja.
Rumors circulated that an unhappy Carter would transfer to somewhere they would just let him out-athlete his opponents, like he did in high school in Florida. Instead, after an exit meeting with Smith before leaving for part of the summer, Carter decided to become a basketball player as well as an athletic freak.
Today, at 40 years old, Vinsanity is still playing ball. The other night his Grizzlies team defeated Milwaukee but all eyes were on Carter since he made his first start of the season. Having become one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA, Carter launched six triples. They all went in. He took eight shots in all, and made every one of them. He added 2 of 2 free throws for 24 points, plus 5 rebounds, two assists and three steals in 30 minutes.
Carter has plenty of money. He gave the basketball program and university enough to construct the Letterman’s Way between the Smith Center and Koury Natatorium where on signposts the names of players who wore the Tar Heel uniform are etched onto silver plagues for each decade.
He joins teammates of his era like the retired Antawn Jamison at Carolina games and you will spot him on TV somewhere during the forthcoming NCAA Tournament. He has said many times that the second best decision he ever made was coming to Carolina and the best decision was NOT leaving after his freshman year. He and Jamison led the Tar Heels to two Final Fours before turning pro after their junior season in 1998.
That Vince Carter is still playing at his age, at the incredible skill level he continues to demonstrate, proves he is not only a transcendent athlete who has developed a true love of basketball but that he also derives pure joy from the game he only thought he knew when he arrived in Chapel Hill. The game he has continued to play with a rare combination of longevity and love, adding another level of meaning to the nickname Vinsanity.