- The Washington Times - Monday, December 20, 2004

This is what has become of former superstar Vince Carter.

He was traded to the New Jersey Nets for Alonzo Mourning and his one kidney, two journeymen post players named Williams and two conditional first-round picks.

Mourning is not expected to report to the Toronto Raptors, and they don’t care.

Toronto just wanted Carter out of the country, no matter how poor the exchange rate.

Raptors rookie coach Sam Mitchell has suffered from enough Vinsanity.

To begin the season, Carter cleared his throat with a trade demand. Since then, he has averaged a career-worst 15.9 points and 3.3 rebounds. He frequently has been benched by Mitchell, especially in the fourth quarter, for not playing hard.

He is on the injured list with a sore Achilles’ and will undergo medical tests through Christmas.

Carter’s career jumped the shark in May 2001, when he attended his graduation from North Carolina in Chapel Hill just hours before Game7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in Philadelphia.

Teammate Charles Oakley ripped the budding franchise player, and gentlemanly coach Lenny Wilkens warned him of the ensuing criticism if he had a poor game.

Carter scored 20 points on 6-for-18 shooting, let Aaron McKie blow by him and left the possible winning shot short at the buzzer.

Since then, Carter has missed 74 games in three-plus seasons because of myriad injuries.

Too often, the half-man, half-amazing Carter has played half a season.

Injuries happen. But Carter has built a reputation, deserved or not, as being soft.

He winces. He holds his head. He talks about how much it all hurts. That’s Charles Barkley you hear laughing in the background.

For some reason, Carter still packs them in during All-Star voting.

He has been No.1 in the fan voting four times. And this season, when he has been booed at home, he is tops among Eastern Conference forwards.

This is inexplicable — another result of the American public’s poor taste and infantile fascination with the dunk.

Carter is on pace for his third consecutive undeserved All-Star appearance. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was 41 years old and owned the all-time scoring record before he made the same claim.

Make no mistake: Carter is still an All-Star talent. But he hasn’t been healthy enough or stand-up enough to become an All-Star player.

With the Nets, the 27-year-old has been given a chance to rehabilitate his career, as long as Jason Kidd is willing and able.

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