The Health Institute is thrilled to announce the winner Raptors essay contest, Salmah Shaikh a grade 8 student from Valley Park Middle School. She is a solid student and a huge #torontoraptors far. Congrats again to Salma and read her winning entry titled VINSANITY below.

By: Salmah Shaikh

Vince Carter, also known as “Half-Man, Half-Amazing” is one of the most impactful players not only in the Toronto Raptors history but also in Canadian basketball as a whole. From his between the leg dunks and his in-game explosiveness to his 16 amazing electrifying buzzer beaters, Vince Carter put “Toronto on the Map”.

Before the Vince Carter era, the Toronto Raptors were an extremely hard sell. Games were not selling, scalpers were left with many tickets unsold and most importantly, the Raptors players did not want to play for the team. For example, when Tracy McGrady was drafted by the Raptors, he had no clue where Toronto was.

In 1998, when Vince Carter was traded to the Toronto Raptors by the Golden State Warriors on draft day, basketball in Toronto changed forever. Jerseys started selling, games were selling out and basketball was now becoming a national favorite, next to hockey and baseball. Toronto highlights were actually being aired on television, people started to realize what Toronto was becoming. With Carter on our team, Raptors fans were becoming hopeful.

The day finally came, after many years, when Toronto got its first game on ‘Primetime on NBC’. This was the moment when the world finally saw Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors play. That night Carter played the best game of his career. Carter dropped 51 points in a game that he will never forget. It was the single greatest performance on national television played by any member of the Toronto Raptors.

After the 1998-1999 season, Vince Carter won the Rookie of the Year award. He was the second Raptor player to earn this honour after Damon Stoudamire. Vince Carter had the distinct honor of being the first Raptor to win a Slam Dunk contest during the All-Star Weekend in 2000. He had multiple rounds of perfect 10’s on each of his dunks. To this day, basketball enthusiasts still talk about the now famous “arm in the hoop” dunk! He is considered to be one of the greatest dunkers of all time. Even better than Michael Jordan!

Off the court, Vince Carter had a tremendous impact on various groups of people. He not only impacted youths from around the country but also impacted future Canadian NBA stars. Corey Joseph and Tristan Thompson are two active NBA players who were influenced by Carter. Vince Carter’s play on the court made the dream become a reality. There are many basketball camps across the nation that were filling up after the draft of Vince Carter. Further, in 2003 Carter worked with city officials to present an amazing, NBA sized basketball court to hundreds of Etobicoke youth as a part of his charitable organization “Embassy of Hope”, which has also built playgrounds in the city of Toronto.

There have been many great players such as Chris Bosh, Demar Derozan and even Kyle Lowry who have influenced many by their play on the court and off the court. There have been players who have played more games than Vince Carter in a Raptors uniform and also scored more points as a Raptor. But the impact that Vince Carter had on the city of Toronto in unprecedented. His legacy will live forever and will be remembered by many and one day, he too will have his jersey retired.
-Salmah Shaikh

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