Canada a tough sell

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

Blame Canada. During a wide-ranging interview at the morning shootaround yesterday, Vince Carter's most interesting answer came after he was asked about the future of the Raptors franchise.

"It has always, in my opinion, been a struggle to get some of the guys in here (to Toronto)," the New Jersey Nets star said, referring to his attempts to lure NBA free agents to play north of the border.

"I always felt it was unfair to all of Canada when Vancouver was around. Growing up as a kid, I paid attention in school so I knew a little bit about Canada. But not all kids do. The most unfortunate thing and the biggest complaint I had with the NBA at that time and probably now is people have no idea what Canada has to offer, and especially Toronto."

A chatty Carter said other players always had questions about Canada when he was trying to recruit them.

"Every conversation I've had with every player in past years trying to bring him here is like: 'Yeah but what about the taxes, or what is Canada like, or ... are there soul-food restaurants?'" he said.

"It's funny, but it's the truth," Carter said. "And TV, gawd, give us some cable. Let us have some channels, things like that. It's a strain for a lot of guys because when they come here, they are like: 'Man, there's nothing to watch on TV.'

"When I first got here, I didn't know what curling was. I thought it was just a half-assed version of bowling."

All this, Carter said, made it difficult to attract players.

"It's one of those things where you get a high because it's a possibility you might get such and such a player and it never happens," he said. "We always struggled because every team, especially in our division and in the East, would kind of power up except us."

Carter had good things to say about Toronto and its fans.

"I remember when the fans weren't quite sure when to cheer," he said. "I was here when it all started ... This is where I was able to become who I am today. For people to say I bailed on (Toronto), that's just life."

The North Carolina product compared leaving Toronto to moving out of his mother's home.

"I can't live in her house the rest of her life," he said. "It's time to move on and start the next phase of your life ... I can tell you this. Many times, I bumped heads with my mom and I was like: 'I can't wait until the day I get my own place.' "

Talking about his own place, Carter has some work to do.

"When we landed (yesterday), I was like: 'Man, it's good to be back home,' " he said. "I hate that I have to take all my furniture and leave but I have no furniture at home in Jersey so I need it."


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