When Vince Carter and the Phoenix Suns parted ways shortly after the NBA lockout concluded, the eight-time All-Star wasted little time in signing with the world champion Dallas Mavericks. His acquisition not only reunited him with his former New Jersey teammate Jason Kidd, but has helped fill the Mavs' void created when swingman Caron Butler signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.
A quick glance at Carter's resume shows he has accomplished just about everything in the NBA, besides capturing a title. He was a McDonald's All-American playing out of Mainland High School in Daytona Beach in 1995. (In January 2012, he joined the likes of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James on the Top 35 McDonald's All-Americans Ever.) Carter went on to spend three seasons in Chapel Hill, where he and former Mavs forward Antawn Jamison led the North Carolina Tar Heels to two Final Fours.
His illustrious NBA career began with the Toronto Raptors, where he was named Rookie of the Year for the 1998-99 season. He followed that up by winning the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest. That summer, Carter was a part of the gold medal-winning USA Mens Basketball team at the Sydney Olympics. In December 2004, Carter was dealt to the New Jersey Nets, where he would would play through 2009 and put up some of his biggest scoring numbers. On 2009 Draft Day, he was traded to his hometown Orlando Magic. Without Carter, the Nets would go 12-70. The Magic with Carter alongside Dwight Howard made a run to the Eastern Conference Finals. He spent the 2010-11 season in Phoenix, becoming the 37th NBA player to reach 20,000 career points.
Many of his accomplishments have come off the hardwood, too, including in 2007 when he and his mother Michelle Carter-Scott donated $1.6 million to the Stewart-Marchman Foundation for a new substance abuse treatment facility called the Vince Carter Sanctuary. In 2009, Carter's Embassy of Hope Foundation created Kai's Kloset (in honor of his daughter Kai Michelle) as a resource for families in need of clothing and shoes.
Carter has been a good fit in Dallas, where he has become a veteran scoring presence and a key member of the team's core. He spent a few minutes with me after practice at American Airlines Center for a chat ranging from a chance at an championship to a very special dinner he hosted during this year's All-Star weekend.
JAY BETSILL: Talk a little about the decision to come to Dallas and play with Jason Kidd.
VINCE CARTER: It is definitely an opportunity that I am excited to have in joining a group of guys that understand what it takes to win.
JB: With all of your individual accolades from the Slam Dunk title, the eight All-Star games, what would winning a championship mean to you?
VC: I saw the banner get raised, and I have seen these guys get their rings. Being so close to everything makes me want to experience that and get one for myself.
JB: You were in the movie Like Mike. Is acting something you are interested in?
VC: It's possible. It is all about opportunity, but it is certainly something I will look into should the chance come up because I enjoyed it.
JB: During All-Star weekend in Orlando, you hosted an event for the president at your house in Windermere. How cool is it to have the President of the United States hang out at your house?
VC: It was an honor for me and my family to do something like that. When they asked me about him possibly joining us, it was a no-brainer. Some people had some things to say about it, but whoever you are, you are getting the opportunity to host the president at your house. It was a great time and I would do it again, 100 percent.
JB: Who else attended the event?
VC: Magic Johnson, Mark Cuban, Chris Paul, Steve Smith and Alonzo Mourning. There were also some local people including the mayor of Windermere.
JB: We'll take Orlando out of the equation since it is your hometown, but compare what it's like from a social standpoint from the other cities you have played in to Dallas.
VC: With the condensed schedule, I have not had the chance to get out here as much as I would like, but I do love the weather. After playing 11 years between Toronto and New Jersey in the cold, you can't beat the weather in Phoenix and Dallas. When I played in Phoenix, I liked Dan Marjerle's restaurant in Scottsdale. Toronto in the summer is probably the best kept secret, but I am a Floridian and I love it there.
JB: I know you are a golfer. Do you have a favorite course?
VC: I'd have to say Isleworth since it's a great course and I am a resident.
JB: What is your favorite city or arena to play in?
VC: Favorite arena is definitely Madison Square Garden, and I always enjoy playing in front of the crowd in L.A.
JB: What arena has the best food spread for the players?
VC: Every arena does not do that for the opponents, but of the ones that do, Dallas is second to none. Teams enjoy coming to play here because you get to eat really well.
JB: Who is the person you most admire and why?
VC: In life, I would say my mother because she worked extremely hard to provide for me and give me the opportunity to have my career. And I have always been a Dr. J (Julius Erving) fan and have always looked up to him.
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