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Perspective of time gives Raptors new appreciation for 'Vin-sanity' days

From NBA media reports

Vince Carter got his ovation in Toronto and the Raptors, who have quietly gone about their business on their home floor this season, got their ninth straight victory at the Air Canada Centre. Everyone, it seems, walked away from Sunday’s matchup fulfilled. The man who helped start a hoops revolution in Canada was shown the proper love and the team he once led continues a mercurial run at home.

But Carter’s visit, and the crowd reaction, was more than just symbolic. It’ signals a time when the current team finally has assumed a certain status level with the romanticized history of the franchise. As Doug Smith of the Toronto Star points out, Raptors fans can do both, reminisce about the “Vin-sanity” days while celebrating the success of the current crew:

The dullness of the game took away from any sense of “moment” in what might have been Vince Carter’s last game in the arena where he dominated during his time with the Raptors. The Kings tried to play into the occasion — giving Carter his first start with guard De’Aaron Fox and centre Zach Randolph out — and he was loudly feted during the pre-game introductions.

Kings coach Dave Joerger did his part, putting Carter back in the game with about 2 ½ minutes left so the fans could cheer, and taking him out with 11.6 seconds left so Carter could be afforded another standing ovation. It wasn’t always that way, as anyone who’s paid attention to the Carter-Toronto saga will know.

“I remember my first couple of years, it was crazy,” said DeRozan, who heard the reaction at its most venomous. “I can’t imagine how it was when he first left. To see the shift, I remember a couple years ago when we gave him the tribute video and everything, the reception and everything, it changed, as it should. It’s great to see that from our fans, because he’s the one who started this whole thing.”

The 40-year-old Carter may not be done. He’s a role player now, and a mentor on a young, struggling team more than anything, but he says the future remains undecided.

“I still don’t know,” he said. “I get asked all the time. You catch me on the right day, I’ll probably tell you it’s over this year. You catch me on another day, I can probably tell you in a couple of years.

“I just enjoy playing. I enjoy being around the guys in this atmosphere. It’s tough to say. You’re asking today, so I can tell you I have one more in me.”