Flashback to May 20th of 2001. Vince Carter made the controversial decision to attend his graduation ceremony at UNC right before Game 7.
“This is a special time for me, an important time for me,” Carter said. “Now that this day is here, I’m feeling better and better about it. This is something I had to do for me, regardless of what other people say about it, because it’s something I wanted to do, something I had to do. It’s something I’m going to accomplish on top of playing in Game 7 and I think I’m mentally prepared for both.”
2o minutes into the ceremony, Vince Carter made an early exit and took a flight to Philly where he showed up about 5 hours before Game 7 against Allen Iverson and the 76ers.
Move forward to the final two seconds of the game. Vince had 20 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds and his Raptors were down by 1.
“When we got into the huddle getting ready for that last shot before [head coach Lenny Wilkens] even drew up a play, I said, ‘Coach, I want the ball. Pump fake, swing through, and by halfway it looked good and it ended up hitting the back rim.”
Vince got the shot he wanted but missed. The 76ers moved forward while things only got worse and worse for Carter and his remaining time with the franchise.
Flashforward to April 26th of 2014 – Game 3 between the Spurs and Carter’s Mavs with 1.7 seconds remaining. Carter attempted an almost identical shot that he asked for and attempted in Game 7 of the 2001 playoffs but this time the shot went in.
“I don’t mind taking the game-winning shot,” said Carter. “I don’t mind missing them, and dealing with it. So I think having that mentality helps me.”
It was not only redemption for Carter, who at 37 is the oldest player to hit a playoff game winner since Eddie Johnson did it the year before Vince entered the league, but a reminder that he’s the only active player left in the league from that classic 2001 playoff series between the Raptors and 76ers.