But it also came down to this: As explosive as Carter could be â€” he famously followed Allen Iversonâ€™s 52-point performance in a Game 2 win with a 50-point outburst that propelled Toronto to a 2-1 series lead against the Sixers â€” his fuse didnâ€™t light itself.
Former Raptors coach Butch Carter, speaking over the line from Orlando this week, was philosophical about what made Air Canada fly.
â€œSome guys are motivated from being poor. Some guys are motivated like Oakley, they play at a small black college and no one ever thought heâ€™d be able to play in the NBA,â€ Butch Carter said. â€œVince came from an environment where he had a mother and a male figure in the home; he had three good meals, a very clean and educated home.
â€œHe had been told it was okay to be who he was. He was very good being what he was. The thing was, I just felt he could have been better.â€
It didnâ€™t turn out well.
Carter quit on Toronto, had a minor renaissance in New Jersey, moved on to Orlando with high hopes. But the Magic gave up on him this past December, when they dealt him to Phoenix, and heâ€™ll arrive in Toronto for Fridayâ€™s game against the Raptors aged 34 and waning. The Suns are expected to exercise their right to buy out the final year of his current contract next season for less than a quarter of its $18 million value. The kid they called Half Man, Half Amazing is a step removed from becoming a full-on journeyman.