Raptors' Vince Carter used to Jordan comparisons
Posted: Friday February 11, 2000 10:49 PM
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- For years, the comparisons to Michael Jordan have followed Vince Carter. First at North Carolina and now into the NBA as he enters Sunday's All-Star game as the top vote-getter.
Carter's assortment of highlight-film dunks has made him one of the most watched and exciting players in the game in just his second season.
Just like Mike.
"Even when I was a freshman it happened," Carter said.
"You get used to it now and I still hear it all the time. But I try to block it out because I'm trying to do my own thing, trying to just every day play basketball and show what I can do," Carter said.
Carter will also participate in the revived slam dunk contest Saturday night. He's the favorite to win in a field that includes Steve Francis, Larry Hughes, Toronto teammate Tracy McGrady, Jerry Stackhouse and late replacement Ricky Davis. Carter's former North Carolina teammate, Antawn Jamison, pulled out with a bad knee.
The competition has a catch this year -- at least one of the three dunks in the first round must involve a teammate. So McGrady and Carter will be competing with each other but also setting each other up with some sort of pass.
"I don't feel I have to do anything extra," Carter said. "It's five dunks and I'll do five dunks that I have in my repertoire. If it wins, it wins. If not, I'm sorry I let everybody down, but I'm here to enjoy it and have fun.
"I was the leading vote-getter and what I'm looking forward to most is the All-Star game," he said. "I know this is all for a reason. I'm playing well and impressing people."
Diamonds are forever
Allen Iverson, decked out in a double chain with matching earrings, ring, wrist watch and bracelet, said being selected to start in his first All-Star appearance is special because the fans chose him.
"It means everything. They are the ones who come through, the ones who make us. We don't get anything without them," Iverson said. "They are the reason we make the money we make."
Iverson, now just 24 in his fourth NBA season, said portrayals of him as a bad guy are unfair and based on a perception that he doesn't respect the game.
"I came in at age 21 and people wanted me to act 30," Iverson said. "I've gotten smarter now as a person and better as a player."
Do what he wants
Sacramento's fancy passing Jason Williams, who will play in Saturday's rookie game pitting the top first-year players from this season against those of a year ago, said he's looking forward to the wide-open style of play.
"I can do whatever I want in any game," said Williams, with a yellow Minnesota Vikings hat cocked to the side of his head. "I try to. This will be fun. I don't have to worry about turnovers."
Williams, who played high school basketball and junior high football with Vikings star Randy Moss, is now one of the NBA's top draws.
"I'm the same person I was a year ago," Williams said. "It comes along with the success of the team. I have to deal with it, do what I do and just live my life."
Heavy rain in the Bay Area on Friday caused problems with travel and West coach Phil Jackson and several players didn't make the Friday afternoon media session in a downtown San Francisco hotel.
San Antonio's Tim Duncan and David Robinson and Sacramento's Chris Webber, all chosen to play in Sunday's game, and rookie game participants Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Clippers and Steve Francis of Houston were among those absent.
Sunday's game will be televised in 205 countries in 42 languages. ... Coaches Jeff Van Gundy of the East and Phil Jackson of the West, referee Dan Crawford and several players are scheduled to be miked during Sunday's game. It's an attempt, the NBA and NBC say, to make fans feel closer to the action. The audio for NBC's telecast will be on tape to try and eliminate the possibility of profanity going over the air. ... Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's selection to 19 All-Star games is the most in history. He played in 18 games. ... The East has seven players in their first All-Star game (Ray Allen, Vince Carter, Dale Davis, Allan Houston, Allen Iverson, Glenn Robinson and Jerry Stackhouse). The West has two, Michael Finley and Rasheed Wallace. ... Carter's league-leading 1,911,973 votes are the second-most ever, behind Michael Jordan's 2,451,136 in 1997.