Vince Carter - Emerges Into Ranks Of Nba Stardom
Emerges into Ranks of NBA Stardom
Carter's emergence into the ranks of NBA stardom was signaled by a last-minute programming change made by NBC Sports one day after Carter won the slam dunk competition during the All-Star Game weekend of his second season. The network shifted a Raptors game into its main programming slot in place of a New York Knicks game originally scheduled to be broadcast. To further showcase Carter, the program featured a pregame introductory piece on Carter, as well as interviews at half time and after the game with the Raptors star. Rising to the occasion, Carter scored a spectacular 51 points during the game. This flattering programming change was followed by a bitter disappointment when Carter was passed over in the selection of players for the U.S. Olympic basketball team. Although he tried not to let his omission from the team bother him, it did cause Carter to focus more on winning play rather than flashy, grandstanding moves on the court. He told the Associated Press: "It has helped me step up. I said, 'OK, you just have to show the world what you can do night in and night out.'" Carter eventually was added to the Olympic squad when one of the original players selected suffered a knee injury.
With Carter focused more intensely on winning play, the Raptors in 2000 made it into the NBA playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Toronto faced off against the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. Although the Raptors had beaten the Knicks three times during the regular season, the New York team made short work of Toronto in the playoffs, sweeping the series in three games. Shadowed by the Knicks' Latrell Sprewell throughout the series, Carter was held to only 15 of 50 field goal attempts.