In the year 2016, Vince Carter still remembers the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals as his then Toronto Raptors took on the Philadelphia 76ers.
Never mind the 33.7 points and the 6.9 assists Allen Iverson averaged, or the 30.4 points and six rebounds that Carter, himself, averaged in the series. Carter specifically remembers one thing: the shot.
The shot transpired in game 7 of the eastern-semifinals, when Carter had a chance to close the deal, and escape the sixers in what would have been a matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that had one, Jesus Shuttlesworth.
On Memphis Grizzlies Media Day, Carter spoke on the shot that would of sent his Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals.
“Game 7, May 20, 2001,” Carter said. “I was thinking about playing a game; it’s just that simple. I was thinking this could cap off a wonderful day, with the world, not really against me, but at the same time in my mind it felt like that.”
This was the same day Carter graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill before he flew up to Philly for a do-or-die game 7. The plot thickens. Dell Curry had just sank a critical three to make the score 88-87 Sixers. Former Sixer point guard, Eric Snow, misses a three, and the Raptors take a timeout. Curry is the in-bounder, before passing the ball to Carter, who allows the expected fly by, and hoists a confident shot just within the three-point line.
The ball bangs off the rim, and the Philly crowed erupts as they now know their sixers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
“That day I had just graduated, now I get the opportunity to win the game before going into the Eastern Conference Finals to play the Milwaukee Bucks. It was a tough pill to swallow, but I live through it.”
Carter was very close, but no cigar. His peer at the time, A.I., went on to go to the hall of fame this year. Vince will end up there, too.
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