In a recent interview with ESPN, former Toronto Raptors star Vince Carter revealed that the NBA was “encouraged” by him to give Michael Jordan his starting spot in the 2003 All-Star Game.
The 1997 nba all star game was the first time that Michael Jordan and Vince Carter were on the same team. Carter felt like he had to give up his starting spot for Jordan, but he wasn’t going to let him take it from him without a fight.
While Michael Jordan is a living icon, his career was obviously coming to an end in 2003. With that in mind, His Airness went on a retirement tour, earning accolades and standing ovations as he toured the nation with his Washington Wizards. The All-Great Game that year appeared to be the ideal venue for paying tribute to the retiring star. But, in fact, there was a snag. MJ received insufficient votes to be named to the starting lineup.
Vince Carter stepped up and offered his starting position to Jordan, which was a huge relief for basketball fans worldwide. The Toronto Raptors star, on the other hand, did not make that choice on his own. According to the NBA veteran, the league also “encouraged” him to hand up the limelight to MJ.
Michael Jordan was not selected to play in the 2003 NBA All-Star Game due to a lack of votes.
Before the 2003 NBA All-Star Game, Michael Jordan (far left) and Vince Carter (center) pose. | Jamie Squire/Getty Images
It’s difficult to envision someone like LeBron James not receiving a staggering number of all-star votes these days. Michael Jordan, on the other hand, was unable to reach the top of the list during his last NBA season.
To be fair to MJ, he did have some tough competition. The top vote-getters at each position earned the starting positions, as stated in The Undefeated. Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson were the top two guards in the Eastern Conference as a result. Carter and Jermaine O’Neal were assigned to the forward positions, while Ben Wallace was assigned to the center position.
Despite his accomplishment, Jordan only earned 1,082,909 votes, which was more than 73,000 votes fewer than A.I. He made plans to go to Atlanta, although he would only be a backup player.
Jordan shouldn’t have started the game on the bench, given his historical importance. McGrady and Iverson both offered to give up their spots to the living icon, but he declined.
With considerable prodding from the NBA, Vince Carter gave up his starting job.
Vince Carter sends Michael Jordan a special birthday greeting and recalls a memorable MJ moment from the 2003 NBA All-Star game. pic.twitter.com/zc7CFYZAjL
February 17, 2019 — The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated)
Jordan ultimately got it into the starting lineup, despite his refusal to take Iverson or McGrady’s spots. Vince Carter was moved to the bench, enabling MJ to play small forward for the East. That gesture, on the other hand, was not completely his decision.
Isiah Thomas, the Eastern Conference coach at the time, talked with Carter before of the game, according to the Undefeated report. In the 1987 All-Star Game, the veteran guard said that he had allowed Dr. J start ahead of him as a player. He also told the Raptors star that he “felt Jordan would really appreciate” the gesture given the circumstances.
Carter did not, however, get just that kind of advice. During an interview on the All The Smoke podcast, he said that the NBA had also advised him to take a night off.
“I made the decision, but the league thought it was a good idea,” he added. “According to the powers that be. Starting MJ in his last All-Star Game was definitely a smart decision. You understand what I mean when I say I ain’t no idiot. Yes, I’m not a fool.”
Everything worked out in the end for both Michael Jordan and Vince Carter.
It would have been reasonable if Carter or Jordan had a less-than-ideal experience given the build-up to the game and the whole drama over the starting position. However, for the most part, everything went smoothly for both guys.
MJ, of course, was the game’s first player and was given the credit he so rightly deserved. He also performed well in what turned out to be a very competitive showcase, scoring 20 points. In some ways, watching him play with Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and the next generation of basketball players felt like a suitable way for him to carry the torch on before departing the NBA stage.
Carter didn’t have the best night — he played 25 minutes but only scored nine points — but he had plenty of opportunities to make up for it. During his career, the high-flying guard participated in eight All-Star games, four of which came after he gave up his starting position. Vinsanity also played in the NBA for 22 years, providing him plenty of opportunities to tell his own basketball narrative.
At the very least, Carter departed Atlanta that fateful night with a tale to tell. For better or worse, he’ll always be remembered as the man who sat on the bench to let Jordan to have one last (All-Star Game) dance.
On All the Smoke, he said, “That’s a recollection that nobody else can speak about.” “It’s impossible to replicate it. I’ve got a tale for you, bro. As if I could tell you this tale for the rest of your life and you’d be like, “Oh man.” Nobody else has the authority to declare that.”
Basketball-Reference provided the statistics.
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