When Vince Carter was drafted in the NBA by Toronto Raptors from the University of North Carolina, numerous fans, coaches, analysts saw the second coming of Michael Jordan. The resemblance was there, and it was pretty evident this kid had all the tools to replicate the same type of success Jordan had throughout the years. As we all know, Carter, even though having a legendary career that spanned through 22 seasons, never won the same amount of individual awards, let alone six championships as Jordan did throughout his NBA career.
On top of that, Jordan being the alpha dog, wanted to prove to Vince Carter he still has plenty of basketball left in his tank, and he did just that in one regular-season game between the Raptors and Washington Wizards on December 16th in 2001. Remember that was a 39-year-old Jordan going up against Vince Carter in his prime, and in that specific game, Jordan taught him a lesson he would never forget.
Right before the game, Carter spoke with the news reporters about his matchup against Jordan, where he said he is not worried about him because Richard Hamilton is the one doing most of the scoring for the Wizards that season.
He is not guarding me, and I am not guarding him, and I just come out there and do my job, and that is what it’s all about. Right now, I have to worry about Richard Hamilton because he is the one actually doing the job for the team as far as putting the ball in there, so I have to worry about him.Vince Carter
Obviously, that didn’t sit really well with Jordan, who decided to have his own revenge game on Carter and showcase why he is considered the greatest basketball player ever. However, the first half of the game started in Carter’s favor in which he was dominating the Wizards scoring 23 points, and it seemed like he was going for 40 or 50 points. On the other hand, Jordan finished the first half with only 9 points, shooting 3 out of 9 from the field.
It seemed the tides turned dramatically in the second half, and it was Jordan who decided to guard Carter and at least slow him down so that the Wizards have a chance to win the game. Nobody was expecting that old Jordan with bad knees could slow down, let alone completely shut down Carter from scoring in the second half, but he did just that in an unbelievable way. Carter didn’t score a single point in the second half, while Jordan finished the game with 21 points providing the much-needed offense and defense for the Wizards to win this game 88-93.
Richard Hamilton was the leading scorer for the Wizards with 27 points, but even he admitted it was Jordan who was their best player that game showcasing incredible defense on Carter.
“Vince hit a lot of great shots in the first quarter, but Michael did an excellent job on him. “He’s one of the greatest defenders in the game.”Richard Hamilton
There were many stories of Jordan completely shutting down his opponents, but it’s even more impressive when you hear he did at such an old age. Most people would assume there is no way a 39-year-old Jordan could stop Carter, let alone dominate him defensively in the second half as Jordan did. However, just like numerous times before, Jordan proved everything is doable if you set your mind to it, which is another proof of why he is considered by many to be the GOAT of basketball.