The late music icon Michael Jackson is regarded by many as arguably the greatest pop artist of all time. His music touched a lot of fans from different walks of life, including NBA stars. So, during his untimely passing, the world was grieving except for eight-time NBA All-Star Vince Carter. But there’s more context into that.
VC had no idea
In the summer of 2009, the New Jersey Nets shipped Carter to the Orlando Magic. Born and raised in Florida, "Half Man/Half Amazing" was thrilled to return home.
Moved, overwhelmed, and unaware that it was June 25, 2009, the day “The King of Pop” died, Carter and his friends celebrated his trade to the Magic. Suddenly, a random woman confronted them and what happened next was a bit sad but epic at the same time.
“I don’t think people know this story but the day I got traded to the Orlando Magic was the same day Michael Jackson died. June 25, 2009,” Carter told NBA.com in 2019… “Me and a couple of my boys were at dinner and they’re saying, ‘Oh man, that’s crazy you’re coming back home.’ So we’re excited and the lady at the restaurant was like, ‘How can you be excited?’ Social media wasn’t around like that. We didn’t know. We’re just hype about the trade.”
Carter may not be the biggest MJ fan in the world, but he would never be happy about the legendary musician’s death. The problem was just that he didn’t know.
“So my boy’s like, ‘You heard the news too?’ She goes, ‘How can you be excited about that? The world is grieving at this point.’ He says, ‘What are you talking about? My man just got traded to the Magic.’ That’s when she says, ‘Michael Jackson died.’ And we were like, ‘What?!’,” he recalled.
A good stint in Orlando
In his maiden season with the Magic, Carter was still productive. At 33, “Vinsanity” averaged 16.6 points per outing in 75 games. And the best part of it was that Orlando was dominant that year, having swept both the Charlotte Bobcats and the Atlanta Hawks en route to an Eastern Conference Finals duel with the Boston Celtics.
Unfortunately, Carter and the Magic fell short-handed against the Boston Celtics and got eliminated after six games in the playoffs. Nevertheless, Carter still had fond memories of Orlando. And yes, it includes the time he learned about the trade. But, of course, not Michael Jackson’s death.