Paul Pierce and Vince Carter wind up in very different places
This is one of those memories from childhood that sticks around for no apparent reason, but sometimes life is funny like that.
As Vince Carter’s tenure in Toronto started to turn, fans — mostly spurred on by sports talk radio — started to consider the notion of trading the star swingman. He could not stay healthy, missing 22 games in 2001-02, plus the playoffs, and 41 more in the following season. One call-in guest suggested the Raptors dangle Carter to Boston for Paul Pierce, and my youthful reaction and the host’s were one and the same: Pierce was not enough.
Carter, born in January 1977, was the fifth pick of the 1998 NBA Draft, the rookie of the year, the slam dunk champion in 2000 and the most popular player in the league early in the post-Michael Jordan era. Pierce, born in October 1977, was the 10th pick in the same draft, but that was where the similarities stopped. He had none of the flare that Carter did, and his old-man’s game did not generate the same hype that Carter’s thunderous dunks did.