If you grew up watching the NBA in the late ’90s and the early 00’s there is a high probability you were a fan of Vince Carter at least at some point during that period. When he first came to the NBA from UNC, many analysts, coaches, and even fans saw Carter as the second coming of Michael Jordan with his unreal leaping ability, explosiveness, and skillset to match those physical attributes. After a decade of excellence, Carter’s numbers started to decline, and it was evident he wasn’t putting in the same work as, for example, Kobe to improve his craft even though Carter had even better chances to be an all-time-great.
Nevertheless, Carter’s legacy is one that every fan should admire, and his 22-year-long career is proof of that. When it comes to the most athletic players in NBA history, his name is right up there with some other legends, and according to his former teammate Richard Jefferson he is the most naturally talented basketball player of all time.
I was with him for four seasons, and when I tell you that, I have never seen anything like Vince Carter. I was fortunate enough to play with LeBron, and obviously, LeBron had the size, but there was nothing that I have ever seen this man not be able to do. Left-hand finishes, left-hand dunks, 360 layups, handling it like a point guard. I think to me he is the most talented player that I have ever seen in my life.Richard Jefferson, via NBA on ESPN
Jefferson had the opportunity to witness firsthand what made Carter such a special player during their time together with the New Jersey Nets. The two formed an exciting back-court duo that produced spectacular plays every single game, with Jason Kidd setting up Carter and Jefferson for all sorts of unbelievable dunks.
Matt Barness also shared his thoughts about Carter, saying how the most talented player he played with or against was Kobe Bryant, but he has tremendous respect for Carter as someone who had the most God-given talent out of all the players he met in his career.
Obviously, I think the most talented player I ever played with or against was Kobe, but when it comes to physically God-given talent, Vince has it.Matt Barnes, via NBA on ESPN
Even though Carter never managed to make it to the NBA Finals and win a championship, his legacy is truly one that deserves respect. His consistency throughout the years was remarkable, and the sheer fact he played for over two decades in the NBA is a feat not a lot of players could replicate. When it comes to Carter, there was always a notion he could’ve done more and elevate his game to an even greater level, but that never happened for various reasons. However, he will forever be considered the best dunker in NBA history that produced so many jaw-dropping plays that made numerous kids worldwide fall in love with the game of basketball.