Editor’s Note: Welcome to Hall of Thread. Logan Meyer has collected sports jerseys since middle school and has more than 250 to his name. Thrift stores across the world, trades and scouring online deals have helped him build his jersey empire, and in this series, he will explain some of his most prized basketball jerseys, how he got them, background on the player and teams and more. With a collection like his, you’re bound to find something unique – a Vince Carter North Carolina fit.
North Carolina was the collegiate home of Michael Jordan, so unsurprisingly, the Tar Heels now adorn Jordan brand jerseys. The jumpman logo, although immediately recognizable as a representation of Jordan himself, could have hypothetically been an illustration of another Tar Heel legend: Vince Carter.
Carter, an eight-time NBA All-Star, has been known throughout his career as one of the greatest finishers at the rim in basketball history. So finding any jersey of his is undoubtedly a slam dunk. Hours and hours of filing through page after page on Facebook’s marketplace feature eventually led to an hour-long drive out into the countryside of Ohio. After a lump sum transfer of cash, roughly $20, the beautiful black and Carolina blue Vince Carter jersey became mine. No doubt a very strange place to find a piece of UNC memorabilia, but I’m certainly not complaining.
The jersey itself, beyond the aforementioned Jordan logo and black and Carolina blue colorway, is very appealing to the eye. The jumpman on the right side is rather attractively offset by an American flag patch on the left. The Carolina blue-colored logo on the front is contrasted by a reflective chrome backdrop. And on the back, below the Atlantic Coast Conference logo are extremely detailed designs depicting information about UNC, such as the year of its founding and the years of its national championships. The design is intentionally difficult to distinguish from the rest of the jersey so that it requires a second-look and draws the attention in for longer.
Due to strict compensation rules by the NCAA, it’s rather rare to find a college jersey of any sport with an actual athlete’s name on the back. For example, if I went to the North Carolina team store, jerseys of every team color would adorn the racks. But I can say with certainty that each one would either be blank or read, “Tar Heels,” on the nameplate. However, there are possible exceptions for past athletes at a university, and this loophole made it possible for me to come across what I can confidently identify as a Vince Carter jersey. And as has been exhibited by university athletics programs time and time again, when it comes to anything college sports related, always seek out the loophole.
Complete Vince Carter Vinsanity
As a prerequisite for earning the nickname, “Half Man, Half Amazing,” you’ve got to be pretty good at what you do. In fact, you’ve got to be amazing, and that’s definitely one way to describe Carter.
He grew up in Florida as a jack of all trades. He was a football quarterback, who then transitioned to volleyball, where he was Volusia County Player of the Year after he averaged 24 kills per match, 23 more than any of his teammates. Additionally, he was offered a scholarship to Bethune-Cookman in saxophone. But of course, most of his outstanding accolades came on the hardwood.
Carter led his basketball team to a state title en route to earning Florida Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All-American honors in 1995. He decided he’d leave his home state, turning down numerous offers in favor of attending North Carolina.
While in Chapel Hill, Carter led his team to two consecutive ACC titles and NCAA Final Four appearances. He earned First-Team All-ACC and Second-Team All-American honors in his final season with the Tar Heels in 1997-98.
Carter was drafted No. 5 overall in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors but was immediately shipped to the Toronto Raptors in a trade. He quickly ascended to stardom, winning the NBA Rookie of Year Award in 1999.
But Carter’s true legend within the sport of basketball was likely sealed during the 2000 NBA All-Star Game Slam Dunk Contest. He wowed the crowd and the world by performing dunks never seen previously, including the now-famous cookie jar dunk, also called the honey dipper. His high-flying athletic ability was second to none.
Also in 2000, Carter won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA and performed what has been referred to as “The Dunk of Death.” Leaping clear over French 7-foot-2 center Frédéric Weis, Carter seemed to effortlessly float through the air on his way to two points at a height unseen on a basketball court.
One of the sport’s premier journeymen, Carter played for eight different NBA franchises over his astounding 22 years in the league. He floated from team to team but always found ways to significantly impact the game, even as his career path tapered off into being more of a role player.
Ultimately, when he officially retired after this past NBA season, Carter finished with the No. 19 highest point scoring total of any NBA player in history and appeared in the third most games of any player. Additionally, he is the only player in NBA history to participate in four different decades.
Now with plans to become an NBA and college basketball analyst for ESPN, Carter will finally begin his transition off of the court at 43.