I heard a bunch of fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs are upset over the news that the Air Canada Centre (ACC) is being renamed the Scotiabank Arena after the MLSE reached a $800 million deal with Scotiebank. I couldn’t care less about the hockey team but the news hit an emotional bone with me, and I’m assuming many Raptors fans, since the ACC was the home of so many great moments of Vinsanity, starting with Vince Carter’s electrifying rookie season.
So in honor of the ACC, I’m going to take a trip down memory lane and pick out a few of my personal favorite dunks, performances and moments that went down in the arena, starting with the first Raptors game there.
2.21.99: FIRST RAPTORS GAME AT ACC
The Raptors went into this game against the Vancouver Grizzlies losing six of their last seven games. The fans not only got to watch the Raptors pull off a rare victory, they witnessed a dunk show by rookie Vince Carter, who finished with his best game of the early season: 27 points on 11 of 16 shooting, 6 boards, 5 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks and a couple nice dunks.
11:18:00: THE RAY ALLEN REVENGE GAME
Vince Carter was upset the Olympic committee selected Ray Allen over him to play on the 2000 Olympics, so he took out his frustration by dropping 48 against Jesus (Shuttlesworth). He also had one of the sickest windmill dunks I’ve ever seen in a game.
As you and Fred Weiss know, Carter was eventually picked to be on the Olympic squad and would end up pulling off the greatest in-game dunk ever.
2.27.00: ACC MAKES THEIR NATIONAL TV DEBUT
It was Vince Carter’s debut on national television and he didn’t disappoint the NBC audience: career-high 51 points, including one of the many 360 layups that would become a trademark move of his.
5.11.01: CARTER SCORES 50 IN GM3 VS THE 76ERS
Vince Carter made eight of nine threes during the first half of game three of the classic Eastern Conference semifinals vs the 76ers. He finished the game with 50 points (9-13 from three)
”Once I hit three or four shots, the rim seemed like it was getting bigger,” Carter said after the game. ”Once the shots were really falling, I started moving with the ball more, getting my feet set and following through. It was hard, to tell the truth. I was tired.”
2001-2003: VC CHARITY GAMES
When I used to run GotVinsanity.com, I would give away Carter memorabilia for free. And when I heard Carter was going to host a charity game at the ACC, I bought eight tickets and gave them away to the biggest Carter fans on my site. After watching the highlights — from a VHS tape (used to make the above video) I bought off Ebay — I was pretty jealous I wasn’t able to attend.
4.15.05: CARTER RETURNS TO THE ACC
Now playing with the Nets, Carter scored a game-high 39 points in his first game back at the ACC. His performance was met with cheers and boos from the home crowd.
11.19.14: THE ACC BRINGS CARTER TO TEARS
Almost 10 years after the Raptors traded Carter to the Nets, the Raptors organization and fans honored their first All-Star with an emotional tribute that left him in tears.
It was amazing. They asked me earlier how I would feel or how would I react. You can’t prepare for that whether it was a surprise or you knew it was coming. It was just an amazing feeling and to just be in the moment. See it. Kind of relive it. As it was happening you see all of the stuff and all of the people you played with. As each play was happening I could remember it like it was yesterday.” – Vince Carter
I’m sure a lot of fans are probably wondering if I’m ever going to share a moment that didn’t involve Carter. My original idea was to just show 10 clips of Vinsanity but the following memorable moments deserve some recognition.
1.25.14: TERRENCE ROSS SCORES 51
Former slam dunk champ Terrence Ross tied Vince Carter’s (still found a way to make another Carter reference) franchise-high of 51 points, by knocking down 10 threes and a couple of nasty dunks against the Clippers. The 51 was a point away from doubling his previous season-high.
2.24.17: DEMAR DEROZAN SCORES CAREER-HIGH 43
Like Vince Carter (I did it again), high-flying DeMar DeRozan had a rep of “just being a dunker” when he came to the league and the three time All-Star has shown he’s so much more. With Kyle Lowry sitting out with an injury, DeRozan scored a career-high 43, while leading the Raptors back from a 17-point deficit and to a 10-point victory.
I know Jeremy Lin didn’t play for the Raptors but this game-winner by Linsanity (rhymes with you know what) was a shot heard around the world during one of the most exciting weeks in recent NBA history. There’s been other game-winners at the ACC but none like this.