All summer the buzz around the NBA
has been about the Miami Heat and its new Big Three. Many in the NBA are
sceptical of the proposed dominance of Miami, including Vince Carter.
The starting guard/forward for the
Orlando Magic was in Cayman last week as part of the Magic basketball camp.
Carter was the featured guest of the Cayman Islands Basketball Association at
the Arts and Recreation Centre in Camana Bay. Over 70 kids came out over the
five-day camp to learn basketball techniques.
The former Olympic gold medallist
stated that Miami, like every other team, still have to look up to the Los
“Everyone is trying to load up and
get to the finals,” Carter said. “They feel they can get over the top but it’s
a very tough conference. At the end of the day the Lakers are still the team to
Last month the Heat signed three of
the biggest names in the league in Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the highly
coveted LeBron James. Interestingly both Bosh and James took less money to
leave Toronto and Cleveland respectively and team up with Wade in South Beach.
Miami were not the only team in the East to get stronger as the Chicago Bulls
landed former Utah Jazz stand-outs Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver while the New
York Knicks signed former Phoenix Sun Amar’e Stoudemire.
Orlando meanwhile has been
relatively quiet, putting its priorities on keeping stars like Jameer Nelson
and Rashard Lewis. In spite of its biggest signings being Chris Duhon (from the
New York Knicks) and Quentin Richardson (from the Miami Heat) Carter feels
Orlando is still the cream of the East’s crop.
“We had a great season last year.
Our team was one of the best out there as we were able to get to the conference
finals. I like the fact that we have the majority of our team coming back. I
think we’re able to make another run this year.
“We have a legitimate shot at the
title. We all have each other and we’re as good as anyone else out there. We
lost some players but we also made some good additions. Guys like Duhon and
Richardson are important pieces to our run this year.”
Last season the Magic advanced to
the Eastern Conference finals after winning the Southeast division title with a
59-23 record. There Orlando fell to the Boston Celtics in six games. By all
accounts Carter had a dismal showing in that series, with his best performance
being the 23 points he scored in Orlando’s game one loss. Since then
conversation about Carter has centred on his tenure with the team and whether
he will be traded in the near future.
Carter states he is not bothered by
the rumours and he feels good about his career up to now.
“I could care less about the trade
rumours and all that. My role is to be the play-maker for the team and make some
shots. My concern right now is to be ready when the season starts. I think I’ve
had a great career so far. I’ve seen a lot and done a lot. The only thing
missing is an NBA championship on my resume. What drives me is the goal to be
the best on the court.”
The Miami Heat will not be the only
thing competing for headlines with Carter this summer. The Orlando Magic will
be playing in a new arena this season called the Amway Centre. The 18,500 seat
sports facility replaces the 21 year-old Amway Arena in downtown Orlando. In
two years it is slated to host the NBA All-Star Weekend.
Interestingly Carter points to a
pair of NBA greats, both past and present, has having a big impact on his life.
“Scottie Pippen was my favourite player growing up. I learned so much from him.
As you know Tracy McGrady is my cousin. I talk to him a lot and I bounce a lot
of basketball stuff off him.”