Originally Posted by Rake2204
I think I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum from a lot of fans of his and a lot of fans of the league. I've never really thought "what if" with Vince Carter. Mostly, I just thought about "what is" and "what was". He wasn't Chris Washburn, he wasn't James White, and he wasn't Marvin Williams. He was a guy who was initially an athlete first in college who was able to turn himself into a regular 25, 6 and 5 guy in the best professional league in the world. That's not really something I can turn around and say, "Geez, what a waste" about. To me, becoming one of the best 20 players in the world is the antithesis of waste.
I've always felt comparing players to the small select few who had diabolical competition disorders wasn't always the best way of judging that player's worth. Vince Carter's brain was different than Michael Jordan's and Kobe Bryant's. The same could be said for 99.9% of every other NBA player (and human) who ever lived. Again, I don't think that should make anyone sad or regretful. Vince Carter was a human being who played the game of basketball because he enjoyed it. He knew it wasn't life or death, but that doesn't mean he didn't want to win and be successful. Winning just wasn't the only thing with him, and I don't think it should have been.
Lastly, I've always kind of wondered when and how it was decided that Vince Carter had the ability to be the best player of all time if only he decided to try. The truth is, I've known a pretty significant amount of basketball players in my life who've had monster verticals and insane athleticism. And you know what? None of them ended up being Vince Carter. What I'm saying is, no one becomes an 8-time NBA All-Star without putting in an insane amount of training and hard work. It is not possible to walk into the type of career Vince had. So with that, I wonder, how do we know Carter did not achieve close to his full potential? Why do we assume he could have automatically equaled the greatest players of all-time?
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by saying he "lacked any type of loyalty or honor to his team, his employers, or himself". He made a terrible decision in Toronto to basically force himself out of the franchise once his team began hoarding mediocre talent, and I can definitely interpret that action as definitively being a lack of loyalty, but I'm not sure if that means he was disloyal at every other point of his career and I'm not sure how that means he wasn't loyal to himself.
Further, I must say, I'm not sure we could fault a person as a basketball player simply because we presume they may have missed a season if they were hypothetically repeatedly and literally stabbed in the back, neck and face. Paul Pierce is tough, but he's also extremely lucky. From what I understand, folks don't usually emerge from being stabbed 11 times by being in fair condition. A lot of criticisms of Carter could be made, but I feel the "Geez, I bet he'd be injured if he were stabbed 11 times" argument does not hold much merit.
After 12 solid years in the NBA (and at least 10 great ones), I don't think there's any shame in acknowledging that you're 35 years old and no longer capable of playing as if you were 26. If anything, someone who understands their regression is much less shameful (or perhaps embarrassing is the right word) than someone who's that age, no longer highly skilled, but is too proud to recognize it.
As someone else mentioned in this thread, Vince Carter reminds me a little of David Robinson in this regard. Both players seemed readily able to acknowledge their decline, accept it, and look for the best and most effective way they could then serve their team. In Robinson's case, that meant taking a huge back seat to Tim Duncan, concentrating more on rebounding and defense. In Carter's case, that meant just trying to fill in the blanks whereever he could in Dallas.
Of course, everything I say is incredibly biased because I'm a huge fan of both Carter and Robinson. But honestly, I truly do prefer seeing former stars age gracefully as opposed to losing skill but still demanding shots until the bitter end.