Vince Carter put Toronto on the NBA map. Now, Carter hopes Toronto puts his No. 15 in the rafters.
"Of course, I'd like for [the Raptors] to retire my jersey," said Carter in his bimonthly diary for ESPN's The Undefeated. He now plays for the Sacramento Kings.
Carter's departure from Toronto — a trade to New Jersey — in 2004 was acrimonious, and in his first game back in Toronto he was booed every time he touched the ball. It wasn't until 2014 that Raptors fans finally forgave his messy exit from the team and cheered him.
"It always is great to go back [to Toronto] and great to play there every time you step on the [Air Canada Centre] property where it's in the hallways, in the locker room and obviously on the court," wrote Carter, who is still remembered for his victory in the 2000 all-star dunk contest. "Seeing the people that still work there always brings back fond memories."
With Toronto, Carter made the all-star team each year and led the Raptors to the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals against Philadelphia, where he missed a shot at the buzzer that would have won Game 7.
Carter's next visit to Toronto is scheduled for Dec. 17, 13 years to the day he was traded to the Nets. It could also be his last appearance, since at 40 years old, he's the oldest player in the NBA.
That means the jersey retirement, if it happens, could come sooner than later.
"At the end of the day, every player's end result is to see their jersey hanging in the rafters somewhere. That is where it started. Hopefully I will get that opportunity," said Carter.