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  Wed, February 4, 2004


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Trying times for both Carter brothers

By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

Vince Carter and Chris Carter are brothers physically. But in lifestyle and experience, they are distant relatives, living in different worlds with different traps and temptations.

And now Chris, the younger of the two Carter brothers, is in serious trouble again. He has been charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana in Florida. As of last night Chris Carter also was alleged to be the sole suspect in a rape investigation, Ormond Beach police told the Daytona Beach News-Journal, although he has not been and may not be charged. Chris Carter already has several drug-related convictions on his rap sheet, the News-Journal reported.

Despite what Vince Carter does or doesn't say, one only can imagine the combination of emotions he experiences when he thinks of his brother. Love. Sorrow. Worry. Fear. Helplessness. Defensiveness. Frustration. Anger.

And guilt.

Emotions don't have to make sense. By definition, they aren't logical. So even though Vince knows he is not responsible for Chris' problematic path, there's little question the Raptors star likely feels guilty he hasn't been able to do more.

Then again, indications are that whenever Vince has tried to intervene, Chris has reacted with suspicion and cynicism, and has not taken advantage of the opportunities afforded him. For Vince, that's where the anger comes in.

Vincent Lamar Carter, 27, is a star NBA basketball player, a former rookie of the year, a former slam-dunk champion, a league all-star, a former Olympian. Vince's light does not shine as brightly as it used to, but it's all relative, in both the literal and figurative senses.

This is not to suggest Vince has not faced his own challenges. But success at least always was a realistic possibility for him, thanks to the fortunate convergence of genetics and divine intervention that made him a superlative athlete.

Conversely, Christopher Allen Carter, 24, is a man in turmoil. Through his youth, he always was compared with his older brother, and that comparison came out unfavourably. Michelle Carter, the well-known mother of Vince and Chris, used to openly dream that Chris would end up helping to run Vince's affairs, but that never panned out.

Recently, Michelle purchased a house and essentially gave it to Chris, who is attending community college and apparently has been trying to get his life in order. But something may have gone wrong with that plan on Sunday night and early Monday morning, as Chris played host to a Super Bowl party.

PRESUMED INNOCENT

Keep in mind, Chris is far from being convicted of anything in relation to his activities of the past few days and must be presumed innocent, according to our legal system. But you have to accept the sad possibility that Chris may have suffered a setback on the road to being a responsible adult who is comfortable with himself.

In a quiet moment a number of years ago, Vince spoke about his brother's struggles. Vince's eyes moistened as he acknowledged his own success inadvertently had made things harder for Chris, who had to live under the dark skies created by his big brother's wide shadow.

Michelle must be wondering if there is a cosmic evening-out going on. Why is oldest son's gain always balanced by her youngest son's pain?

Vince will try to block all this out and worry about basketball, but the Raptors' win-loss record must seem insignificant when a close family member is in dire straits. Maybe Vince long ago developed a mental shield. And he hardly is the only NBA player who has had to deal with wayward kin.

Ultimately, for Chris Carter, all you can hope is that he's innocent. For Vince Carter, all you can hope is that he finds an appropriate combination of devotion, detachment and determination as he tries to help a brother who seemingly refuses to be helped.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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