Unlike his fellow legends, Vince Carter bid goodbye to the game in a discreet way. No farewell tours or anything fancy. Interestingly, Jamal Crawford had a great idea of how the greatest dunker in history should’ve walked off: by joining the dunk contest one last time. And he almost convinced the man to put on a show for the ages.
Just one dunk
Crawford recalled being in the weight room with Carter one day when the idea grabbed hold of his mind. He then rushed to Carter to try to convince him to join the dunk contest one last time.
“We’re in the weight room; it’s his last year. I say, ‘VC, go do the dunk contest.’ He’s like ‘woah!’ I said “VC go do one dunk. Go do a windmill and walk off. You’ll shut down Twitter to shambles.’ He’s like, ‘I got something to do,’” Crawford said, per NBA on ESPN.
Carter confirmed Crawford’s story. He didn’t get into the details, but he did admit that he almost said yes to Crawford’s dare. Was it because of its possible impact on Twitter? Or because he needed to do just one dunk?
Carter declined Crawford’s dare not because he couldn’t dunk anymore -- clips of Carter dunking in business attire (without even stretching) have been circulating around the Internet. Dunking is like second nature to Carter. He can do it without shedding a sweat.
Perhaps the reason why Carter declined is that he wanted to preserve the greatness of his 2000 Dunk Contest performance. This may be one of the reasons why Carter is considered the greatest dunker of them all. He showed off his talents just once. People wanted more, but Carter continuously declined. He knows how the element of mystery works.
Another great thing about Carter’s performance was that it was all solid dunks. No frills, no stupid gimmicks. He didn’t try to exaggerate his vertical leaping ability by jumping over a car. His dunks didn’t require multiple attempts, which broke off all momentum and put the audience to sleep, as we’ve observed in recent dunk contests.
Carter showed off his raw athleticism, creativity, and flare for entertaining the audience. Those three things were enough for him to be crowned Dunk Contest Champion and possibly the greatest dunker ever.
Obviously, we’ll never know what would’ve happened if Carter said yes to Crawford’s offer. Would Twitter have crashed? Would the world have gone berserk? Who knows? Perhaps it’s a good time to quit fantasizing about the what-ifs and focus on Carter’s dunk portfolio, which never fails to cause our jaws to drop to the floor.