Vince Carter stepped foot on UNC’s campus 25 years ago. There is an entire generation who only knows Vinsanity through YouTube videos and social media posts. Some only know him as an NBA player who took the court across four decades. Even fewer can recall his college days. Unless you were 10 years or older in 1995, you probably only have a hazy memory of Vince’s three-year developmental period as a Tar Heel. I say that from personal experience.
I was 10 years old in 1995. Yes, I knew the 1993 championship team by heart, sported an Eric Montross-style flat-top throughout elementary school, was heartbroken over ‘Sheed and Stack declaring early, and will always hate the Arkansas Razorbacks for that 1995 Final Four. Vince, though, was the first basketball player not named Michael Jordan that I was truly in awe of. He was also the first player I remember my dad and I really bonding over.
I vividly remember waking up one morning to a picture printed off the internet, Vince’s head above the rim, right arm cocked back, about to deliver one of his patented dunks. Before he drove off to work, Dad wrote at the bottom of the page, “I TOLD you he could jump!”. He underlined it twice for special emphasis, as if I ever doubted.
Words cannot express the sheer physical specimen that Vince was at UNC (and beyond). A mix of of old and new generations, he helped bridge the gap between eras as year-round specialization, individual trainers, nutrition specialists and athletic personalization became the norm and not saved just for the most elite talents. At UNC, we saw him learn how to harness those abilities under Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge.
Fortunately, for those that missed out on that era, there’s a chance to get a glimpse later this afternoon. If you have the ACC Network, you can experience a five game marathon featuring some of Vince’s best and most memorable games at UNC. The Carolina Basketball account announced the ACC Legends: Vince Carter line-up on earlier this week.
The five games scheduled for your viewing pleasure are listed below. Please note, all times are eastern standard time.
#4 Wake Forest at #12 UNC (February 19th, 1997)
Carter scored a career-high 26 points en route to a 74-60 victory. He also posterized Tim Duncan. So. That’s fun.
#4 UNC vs #7UCLA (Great Alaskan Shootout, November 27, 1997)
Carter tallied 22 points in the victory. Naturally, he had a few highlights.
#1 Duke at #2 UNC (February 5, 1998)
This game is more about what didn’t happen, than what did. Carter scored 17 points, but this missed opportunity is all anyone remembers from this beatdown over Duke.
#2 UNC at Georgia Tech (February 8, 1998)
This double overtime win was just three days after that infamous missed dunk. Vince scored 19, but it was a key steal and dunk late in the first OT that helped UNC get the win.
#1 Duke vs #4 UNC (ACC Championship Game, March 8, 1998)
UNC beat #1 Duke (again), this time for the ACC title. Guthridge’s famous rotating starting line-up meant Carter came off the bench for his final conference performance. 19 points later, the Heels were ACC Tournament champs. Highlights are scarce, but if you have 30 minutes, here’s a mini-documentary about the entire 1998 ACCT.
A 30-minute warm-up will start at 11:30 AM called Celebrating Vinsanity. It will also be shown at 10:00 PM after the final game.
So, if you have nothing better to do, sit back, relax, and enjoy some of Vince’s most memorable performances. If you do have something better to do, then I highly recommend you cancel those plans.