Shed no tears for Vince

By JODY VANCE -- 24 Hours Toronto

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

When Vince Carter left Toronto, he left a superstar-size hole in Raptorland, and even larger holes in the hearts of Toronto NBA fans.

Simply put, Carter quit the Raptors and left his teammates to pick up the pieces -- and he never looked back.

It is for this reason I felt no guilt when, as the final horn blew and the Miami Heat officially ousted the New Jersey Nets from the NBA playoffs Tuesday, I smiled.

I laughed out loud when, post-game, Carter appeared at a loss for words.

"We did what we had to do," he saids. What he forgot to say in that quote was "almost."

Maybe he was looking for personal props? That's it! He was trying to say "I did what I had to do."

He's a talented young man and he has been brought up to think of himself as extra-special --and he can be extra-special when he wants to. Vintage Vince has been front and centre since he was moved to Jersey.

Even in Tuesday's losing effort, Carter was almost the difference when he slammed down the dunk that drew the Nets within 106-105 with 29.1 seconds left to play -- but it wasn't enough.

I know that Carter did great things with his money in the community. But, with the sweet multimillion-dollar deal he got from the Raptors, should he need to be congratulated for doing that?

Frankly, all of the Brangelina-like humanitarian work in the world couldn't clear the black cloud brought here by his lack of commitment on court.

It could have been beautiful for Canada's lone NBA team to have the superstar heir apparent to Michael Jordan -- so how sad indeed that the athlete this city idolized and fell in love with managed to inject an "I" in team.

It is next to impossible to conjure up visions of Vince in Raptor purple without picturing him writhing on the hardwood clutching one appendage or another. He brought the promise of greatness and managed to deliver mediocrity.

Vince Carter was like super-sized junk food for Toronto -- you crave it, it tastes fantastic, but then you need to spend a fortune to get rid of the dead weight left behind.

Jody Vance is a longtime television sportscaster and personality living in Toronto. Her column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.


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