Vince Carter fittingly joins 25K points club with buzzer-beating dunk against Raptors

Yahoo Canada Sports

It couldn’t have been written any better.

Playing in his 1423rd regular-season game on Wednesday night, Vince Carter of the Atlanta Hawks collected the 25,000th point of his career against Toronto — the city where it all began for the NBA legend.

And, in classic VC fashion, he did it with a huge dunk.

Carter, now 41 years old and in the midst of his 21st season, hit the milestone when the Hawks picked up an offensive rebound, his teammate Kevin Huerter gave him a quick pass and he threw down a thunderous slam as the dying seconds of the game ticked away.

With Carter at 24, 999 points and the game out of reach for Atlanta, the three Raptors in the paint showed some class by letting the eight-time All Star fly toward the rim uncontested.

He became just the 22nd player in NBA history to hit the elusive milestone.

Entering the contest, he was 13 points shy of the mark and picked up four by halftime on 2-for-4 shooting from the field. He added a three-pointer in the third quarter to leave him six shy of 25K with 12 minutes remaining.

Late in the fourth, he hit a three pointer and two free throws to set up the historic moment.

“To be a part of that list… is something they can’t take away from me,” Carter said on the broadcast prior to the game. “I’m thankful I’m able to still play this game long enough to even have the chance to reach such a goal.”

The former Toronto Raptor became the 22nd player in NBA history to reach 25,000 career points with a last-second dunk against his former team. (Getty)
The former Toronto Raptor became the 22nd player in NBA history to reach 25,000 career points with a last-second dunk against his former team. (Getty)

After being drafted by the Golden State Warriors fifth overall in the 1998 NBA draft, he was dealt to Toronto and immediately made an impact. The Raptors were in their infancy as an NBA franchise and Carter was the type of player that the team needed to build their fanbase.

The Raptors in Carter’s first season finished with a record of 23-27, good for tenth in the Eastern Conference, but VC was electric. He averaged 18.3 points and was named the 1998-99 Rookie of the Year for his efforts.

In his six-plus seasons with the team, he dropped jaws with his highlight-reel dunks and sensational athleticism. And, Toronto will never forget his play en route to its first playoff series victory in franchise history back in 2001, a seven-game thriller against the New York Knicks.

During his recent interview on Inside the Green Room, Raptors super fan Nav Bhatia chatted about his memories of Carter and the lasting impact he’s had on the franchise.

“Canadians owe a lot to VC 15,” said Bhatia. “He brought us to the basketball world, you know… We lasted here because Vince was here at the right time for us.”

Almost secondary to this story, the Raptors won the game 124-108. They improved to 15-4 while the Hawks fell to 3-15.

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