The 1998 NBA Draft was full of surprises. In fact, some perhaps don't know, but several all-time greats, such as Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki, were drafted that year, but they weren't really viewed as potential NBA stars at the time. Vince Carter was also one of them, but his case was slightly different.
Shocking news on draft day
On draft day, the Golden State Warriors selected Carter as their No. 5 overall. However, the Dubs thought his University of Carolina teammate Antawn Jamison, who the Toronto Raptors had just drafted at No. 4, would better suit their approach, so they immediately proceeded with a trade.
While all that was happening, "Vinsanity" had no idea as then-NBA Commissioner David Stern broke it down to him when they were already shaking hands on the stage. However, Carter was a little caught up with the moment, and he thought Stern was just telling him "somebody's about to get traded."
On the other hand, Jamison already knew about it, and was trying to tell Carter from a distance that they were "about to get traded." But VC couldn't understand it until Stern finally made the announcement.
"Literally, [Stern] shook my hand. We took the picture. And he said, 'Just stay right here, there's about to be a trade'," Carter told NBA.com in 2019. "So I'm back there like, 'damn somebody's about to get traded.' Antawn was sitting at the bottom of the steps. He was trying to tell me that we're about to get traded, but I was like, 'What, what, what?' It was so much going on because I was on stage. So when [Stern] said, 'The Toronto Raptors have traded the rights…' I was like, 'damn that's what he was saying.'"
A hero in Toronto
After all, was said and done, Carter ended up playing for the Raptors. With his electrifying in-game dunks, "Vinsanity" became an instant star in the NBA and a hero in the city of Toronto.
"There were so many kids that were inspired by Vince Carter and what he did and what he brought to the Raptors," Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. "You see, so many of them have come out now and become players."
As for Jamison, he may not have reached Carter's level in terms of being an NBA star, but he became a notable player as well, having earned two All-Star appearances. But while Carter and Jamison both have proven skills, it's still kind of interesting to imagine what if that draft day trade did not happen.