Who is hated more?
There was a time when both Chris Bosh and Vince Carter were revered by the Raptors’ faithful. Both were stars not only in the city of Toronto, but the entire country as they are ranked 1-2 in Raptors’ all time scoring history. They represented Canada and were embraced as if they were natives of the north. But those days are gone, both Carter and Bosh have moved on, but has Raptor nation?
To this day, almost six years after Carter was traded, the player that gave up on Toronto hears it from Raptor fans every time he returns. Refer to the most recent game against Phoenix for proof.
And of course, with Bosh’s departure still fresh in our minds, Raptor fans were out in full force to boo the player formerly known as CB4 in their match against Miami last week. But the hatred for two of the most popular Raptors’ figures begs the question…
Who is hated more, Vince Carter or Chris Bosh?
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane to get a better idea of why the deep feelings of animosity still exist.
The Vince Carter Case
Lets begin with an absolutely fair statement: Carter put Toronto on the NBA map, becoming the first, and arguably the only “superstar” to play in a Raptors Jersey. Vinsanity, (as he was once known,) took Toronto within one shot of the Eastern Conference Final, a place where the Raptors had never been before, and have not reached since.
It was 2001, and what a good time to be a Raptors fan that year was. Aside from the deepest playoff run the Raptors ever made, Carter was the leader, the MVP and the offensive catalyst of the team. His highlight reel dunks filled Sportscentre’s “highlight of the night” daily, and he was one year removed from emphatically winning the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest-you might remember that as the moment you became a definitive and long lasting Raptors fan.
But as great as the ride was, the fall was equally as bad. After prolonged injuries in both 2002 and 2004, Carter began losing interest in the Raptors team and worst of all, with the city and fans as well. His casual, almost lethargic attitude on the court harboured criticisms from media and fans alike.
Carter’s production and stats dipped well below career averages, but the love affair with Carter hit rock bottom when after all this, he declared that he would not dunk anymore because of knee issues. It was evident that as the Raptors began to struggle, Carter stopped caring. He demanded a trade during the 2004-2005 season, and amidst poor play and an obvious non-interest in the team, Carter received his wish and was traded to the New Jersey Nets.
To this day, it’s difficult to determine what is worse:
1. The return Rob Babcock received from the Vince Carter trade: Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, Alonzo Mourning, who was immediately bought out for over $10 million, and two first round picks. One of the first round picks was eventually traded away to help get rid of Jalen Rose’s contract, while the other draft pick was the disappointment named Joey Graham.
2. How Carter miraculously regained his form and once again became one of the most dynamic and entertaining scorers in the NBA. Once Carter became a member of the Nets, he started dunking again and started producing the numbers Raptors fans had become accustomed to. When Carter was traded in the 2004-2005 season, in the first 20 games he spent in Toronto, he averaged 15.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 3.1 APG. In 57 games with New Jersey that SAME YEAR, Carter averaged 27.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 4.7 APG.
3. In Vince Carter’s first return to Toronto after being traded, he scored 42 points and made a buzzer beating, game winning 3-pointer. Click here if you forgot what he did to the Raptors that night. What a way to stick it to the fans that venomously booed him all night.
4. When the Raptors overhauled their team and won the Atlantic Division in 2007, they were eliminated in the first round by VC and the New Jersey Nets in six games.
Its been nearly six years since Carter played his last game in Toronto, but Raptors fans still give him their love upon arrival.
The key to figuring out who is truly more hated can only be objective if short-term memories are rendered moot. Although Bosh’s exit is still fresh, it does not necessarily mean he is public enemy #1. In fact, if you can’t remember what Vince Carter’s reception was like the first time he returned to Toronto, click here to relive it.
Stay tuned for Part two of the Greatest Raptors Villain, as the focus is shifted on Chris Bosh, and the final decision is revealed regarding the most hated player in Raptors folklore.
Photo Courtesy: Mark Blinch, Reuters/ NBA.com