Raptors honoring Vince Carter tonight, which will rankle many Toronto fans


Raptors fan still boo Vince Carter, whose only possible rival for greatest player in franchise history is Chris Bosh.

At his peak, Carter wowed fans nationally with incredible dunks. In Toronto, he brought unprecedented playoff success, leading the Raptors to their only postseason-series victory and within a game of the conference finals.

But his tenure in Toronto ended ugly. He demanded a trade, quit dunking and let his effort slip.

Many Raptors fans, understandably, have yet to forgive him.

So, the team is taking an interesting approach when Carter’s Grizzlies visit Toronto tonight.

Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun:

Like it or not Raptors fans (and many of you won’t), the Raptors will play a video on Wednesday night looking back at Vince Carter’s time in Toronto.

Carter will be in town with the Memphis Grizzlies, making his only appearance in Canada this season.

Throughout the year, the Raptors will be running videos on the scoreboard to commemorate the 20-year history of the franchise.

In time, Raptors fans will forgive Carter. They’ll cherish his highlights and look past his transgressions.

I have no doubt about this.

Many fans were forced to reconsider their hate of Carter when they couldn’t help but become excited by the prospect of him re-joining the team. How much can you truly distain a player you also want on your favorite team?

But forgiveness hasn’t happened fully yet and probably won’t until Carter retires.

Unfortunately, the Raptors are commemorating their 20th anniversary this year, not after Carter finishes playing. So, they’re left with this awkward dilemma – and they made the right choice by including him in the celebration.

Carter has played a huge role in the franchise’s history, and the Raptors shouldn’t ignore it. To do so would be a massive slight, one bigger than Carter deserves at this point.

If fans want to boo while the video plays, fine. Really, Raptors fans booing Carter is an even bigger part of the team’s identity than Carter playing for it.

But if fans want to use this as an opportunity to move on, that’d be great, too. I don’t expect it to happen tonight, but it will soon enough.