UNC Basketball: Vince Carter recalls giving MJ his starting spot

Former UNC basketball standout Vince Carter recalls giving Michael Jordan his starting spot in the 2003 All-Star Game

Former University of North Carolina standout and 22-year NBA veteran Vince Carter will be remembered for a great many things. He’s widely believed to be the greatest dunker in league history, and he’s seventh all-time in made three pointers. He became a living legend at the 2000 Slam Dunk Challenge where he did things on the basketball court that, quite frankly, none of us had ever seen before.

Perhaps one of the coolest things he ever did, though, was give up his starting spot at the 2003 All-Star Game in Atlanta, Georgia. Carter, who was the league’s top vote-getter that season, gave up his spot in the starting lineup in favor of an aging Michael Jordan that was making his final appearance in the event.

Carter talked about the decision to let Jordan start over him in a recent All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.

“It was encouraged by the league that it was a good idea,” Carter said. “By the powers that be. It was probably a good idea that MJ starts in his last All-Star Game. I ain’t no fool, you know what I’m saying? I ain’t no fool. First of all, we all look up to MJ and he’s a hero. Bruh, that’s a memory that nobody else can talk about. That can’t be duplicated. Bruh, I got a story—I can tell this story forever. Nobody else can say that.”

Carter just finished his NBA-record 22nd season, and he’s the only player in league history to have played in four different decades. He’s scored over 25,000 points for the Raptors, Nets, Magic, Suns, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Kings and Hawks. He’ll undoubtedly be remembered as one of, if not the best, dunkers in the history of the sport. He’ll also be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer a few years from now, and will remain one of the league’s most beloved players ever.

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