Vince Carter’s rookie year was very much like his NBA career; full of highlight worthy dunks. He was a fan favourite for 22 seasons.
As one of the greatest dunkers of all time and eight-time NBA all-star Vincent Lamar Carter calls time on his 22 seasons long NBA career, it’s a good time to look back at his rookie season which launched him into stardom.
When was Vince Carter drafted into the NBA?
During his sophomore and junior seasons, Carter helped North Carolina to consecutive ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament titles and Final Four appearances. He finished the 1997–98 season with a 15.6 points per game average and was named second-team All-American, First-Team All-ACC, and to the fan’s guide third-annual Coaches ACC All-Defensive Team.
The only player to have ever played in four different decades.
Salute to Vince Carter on a legendary career. pic.twitter.com/hGI8fYOANK
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) June 25, 2020
In May 1998, Carter entered the 1998 NBA draft and was initially drafted by Golden State Warriors as the fifth overall pick but was traded to the Toronto Raptors.
How was Vince Carter’s rookie season in the NBA?
Due to the NBA lockout , Carter’s rookie season did not start until January 1999. With his soaring offensive style, Carter quickly became a fan favourite and it also earned him the nickname “Air Canada”.
Also Read: Vince Carters’s last shot in the NBA
His season was filled with countless highlight-reel dunks. Carter wasted no time in making an impact at the NBA level. The Raptors’ rookie averaged a team-high 18.3 points per game shooting efficiently from the field while also posting 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals a night.
On this date in 1999, Vince Carter was named Rookie of the Year.
Young VC averaged 18.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game 💪 pic.twitter.com/wQKr2wQDXz
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) May 26, 2018
What were his memorable performances in his rookie year?
Carter dropped 27 points, six rebounds and five assists in a win in his first battle against the Raptors’ Canadian-rival Vancouver Grizzlies. He scored 26 in a win against Boston Celtics while playing a key role in holding another budding rookie forward Paul Pierce to seven points.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 25, 2020
He dropped a season-high 32 points on the Houston Rockets and all-time defender Scottie Pippen and came up clutch with 31 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in a one-point win over Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin and the Indiana Pacers.
Carter eventually won the “NBA Rookie of the Year” award, joining Damon Stoudemire as the only two players in team history to earn the honour and eventually went on to become one of Toronto Raptor’s best players in their history.
Although Carter’s move from Toronto to New Jersey is one of the most one-sided trades in league history, he did leave behind a remarkable legacy at Toronto and his rookie year is a testament to it.