Vince Carter's performance in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest solidified his place as the greatest dunker in NBA history. He had power, finesse, and style that was never seen up until that point. While fans were going wild with every dunk, Carter's mind was all over the place. Before he went off and stuck his arm into the rim, Carter was wary of the dangers of the now legendary dunk. He knew that if he did not jump high enough, he could end up with a broken and bloody forearm.
Break an arm
Carter sat down with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles, recalling the iconic 2000 Slam Dunk Contest. Carter broke down his dunks, including where he stuck his arm into the ring and hung for a bit.
The Toronto Raptors legend confessed he had done a safer version of the dunk where he just dropped the ball into the ring and pulled his arm out. He realized that hanging on the rim would generate a more significant audience impact. However, this minor tweak has its own dangers.
Vince Carter: I've never done it in my life. Who does that? That's stupid. If you fall off you break your arm. If you don't jump high enough you tear all this (points to his forearm) stuff.
Darius Miles: "I can relate to what he's talking about. It hurt. It's a metal bar that you're holding onto with your arm and your whole body. You can't just go in there and just jump. You just can't go in there and go hard."
VC: "Listening to all you're saying, I'm having this conversation with myself. I wanted to show people how high I can get. I felt like I have to get high enough. You can't be rim height and then try to do that and slide. Like you said, you're going to tearing up all that, the rim going to scrape all that. So I wanted to get high enough, and like you said, make sure I get my arm in and hold on. I just had to hold on.
Ups and downs
Perhaps it is safe to say that Carter's 2000 performance put immense pressure on future dunk contests. Fans wanted to witness another dunkathon that could equal or outdo Carter's monster slams.
Unfortunately, the Slam Dunk Contest has had a lot of ups and downs. Since the 2000 contest, only several tournaments deserve to be inserted into the debate of the greatest Slam Dunk Contest of all time. One of them is the 2008 rendition which Dwight Howard won. Another is the controversial 2016 contest which was decided through a dunk-off between Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon.
The NBA has made an effort to bring the Slam Dunk Contest back to its glory days. Some have suggested that participants should team up with professional dunkers who constantly innovate new slams for a living. Whatever the case may be, there's a strong hope among diehards that a new dunker will arrive and causes everyone's jaws to drop off. Until then, we have a hoard of Vince Carter highlights to amaze us.