Does Vince Carter have a ring? No, Vince Carter never won a ring because his style of play as a star player did not elevate his teams enough to win titles. Then as a role player, Vince Carter chose not to chase a ring for teams that wanted him to sit on the bench, instead choosing to sign with teams that let him play.
Why Doesn’t Vince Carter Have a Ring?
Vince Carter was a great player who won Rookie of the Year in the 1998-1999 season. He went on to play on 8 All Star teams – every year from 2000 -2007. Vinsanity also made two All-NBA teams – 3rd team in 2000 and 2nd team in 2001.
His career statistics look like this:
But, despite playing in four decades, putting up great numbers and achieving some major accomplishments as an individual, Vince Carter never won a ring.
In a way, Vince had two careers.
Vince Carter’s First Career: NBA Star
The first career was his early and prime years. In these years Vinsanity was considered a star.
He played starter minutes and scored a ton. Those teams, and their fans, expected big things out of Vince and were hopeful he’d lead them to great success.
And he absolutely did amazing things. He was most certainly one of the greatest dunkers in the history of the game.
But he was not the kind of player who could singularly drag a team to the highest heights in the NBA.
It’s not a tremendous insult. The Michael Jordans of the world are few and far between.
Vince Carter may have been close, if not equal, to Michael Jordan in athleticism.
But he was certainly not the basketball player Michael Jordan was.
Vince could score, but he was never much of a defender. I wrote extensively about Carter’s defense here. He was also not an incredible creator on offense either.
What it comes down to is that Vince was an amazing athlete and a really good scorer who did not elevate his teams all that much.
Being a great scorer and athlete in the NBA is impressive. But it does not always correlate with winning. The greatest winners often contribute to their teams in other ways – usually ways that help their teammates become better.
Kevin Garnett was a great scorer and athlete who also played some of the greatest defense in the history of the league. Tim Duncan was one of the best players in the league on both offense and defense.
Larry Bird was a great scorer who elevated his teams through incredible passing and better defense than you remember. Magic Johnson scored but also created for others at an incredible level.
MJ and Kobe were both insanely competitive, often to a fault, and they were both two-way players. The same is true of Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson – players who dominated on both ends of the floor.
The video below about the best players in league history since the ABA merger discusses these qualities the greatest players in NBA history have shared.
Vince was an athlete who could fill it up at the NBA level. It was not enough to win by itself. A player like Vince could very much contribute to winning but he’d need another star like one of those players on his team in all likelihood.
For Vince Carter, that never happened. Vince was never paired with the kind of player that could allow him to be the secondary star playing more of a role.
If you look in the section below listing every team he played for and their results, you’ll see the Toronto Raptor and New Jersey Nets teams Vince played on never did all that much.
Sure the Raptors paired Vince with Tracy McGrady, but T-Mac was young – he came into the league the year before Vince, but he came straight out of high school.
In Vince’s rookie year, McGrady scored less than 10 points per game. The next year T-Mac scored 15 per game, but it was his last year in Toronto – he was off to chase stardom in Orlando.
Even if T-Mac had stayed, while I ultimately chose him as the better player over Vince in this post, he didn’t play much D either, and turned out to be a similar player in many ways to Vince. There is no doubt their pairing would have won more games for the team, but I am not sure if it would have ultimately worked to win championships.
Vince’s 3rd year in Toronto was his most successful year on the franchise. The team made the conference semifinals.
That team’s second best player was Antonio Davis. There was no second star, never mind a first one.
In New Jersey there was a 2nd star for sure – Hall of Famer Jason Kidd. Kidd did elevate teammates both with great defense and creation on offense.
But Kidd was 32 by the time they were in their 2nd season together and was rounding the bend from star to more of a wily veteran presence on the team.
That Nets team was no match for a Shaq/D-Wade pairing in Miami and it makes plenty of sense in hindsight. They just did not have the horses to compete with all-time greats.
The best team in terms of playoff success Vince ever played for was the Orlando Magic. On that squad, Carter was the 2nd scorer behind a prime-Dwight Howard. The third best player was Rashard Lewis.
They were a nice team, but they were no match for a Celtics team featuring a big three of KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.
When Vince Carter was paired with an in-his-prime star like Dwight Howard, his teams could win. But when he was the 1st star, his teams never could quite get there.
After his trade from Orlando, Vince began his 2nd career.
Vince Carter’s 2nd Career: Role Player
Vince Carter played the final ten years of his career as more of a role player. He bounced around from team to team as you can see below.
At this point he started permanently playing fewer than 30 minutes per game and even fewer than 20 as time went on.
He was good at his role. He was a great 3-point shooter who could score for teams, provide some defense and was a positive locker room guy with a lot of experience in the league.
That’s right I said he provided defense. Vince actually played more defense as he played fewer minutes.
But he still never won a ring. The reason for that is mostly because he did not chase one. Many of the title-contending teams would have happily taken Vince at this point in his career.
When Carter negotiated with those teams, however, they all made it sound like he might not play at all for them. They wanted him for insurance and leadership. He was looking for a role where he’d get some playing time.
Carter said, “It just wasn’t my thing. It’s just something that I wasn’t interested in doing. I mean to be a part of a team where I feel like I can help out, and play some minutes, is what I wanted to do. I just wanted to play. You know?”
Part of the reason Vince Carter never won a ring is he was not the kind of player who could lead a team to great heights on his own and he was never paired with another star who could get him there.
The other part of the reason Vince never won a ring is he did not chase a title. He wanted to play in games and not sit on the bench. I can respect that.
What teams did Vince Carter play for?
|98-99||Toronto Raptors||23-27||Not in playoffs|
|99-00||Toronto Raptors||45-37||Lost 1st round|
|00-01||Toronto Raptors||47-35||Lost Conf. Semis|
|01-02||Toronto Raptors||42-40||Lost 1st round|
|02-03||Toronto Raptors||24-58||Not in playoffs|
|03-04||Toronto Raptors||33-49||Not in playoffs|
|04-05||New Jersey Nets*||42-40||Lost 1st round|
|05-06||New Jersey Nets||49-33||Lost Conf Semis|
|06-07||New Jersey Nets||41-41||Lost Conf. Semis|
|07-08||New Jersey Nets||37-48||Not in playoffs|
|08-09||New Jersey Nets||34-48||Not in playoffs|
|09-10||Orlando Magic||59-23||Lost Conf Finals|
|10-11||Phoenix Suns**||40-42||Not in playoffs|
|11-12||Dallas Mavericks||36-30||Lost 1st round|
|12-13||Dallas Mavericks||41-41||Not in playoffs|
|13-14||Dallas Mavericks||49-33||Lost 1st round|
|14-15||Memphis Grizzlies||55-27||Lost Conf Semis|
|15-16||Memphis Grizzlies||42-40||Lost 1st round|
|16-17||Memphis Grizzlies||43-39||Lost 1st round|
|17-18||Sacramento Kings||27-55||Not in playoffs|
|18-19||Atlanta Hawks||29-53||Not in playoffs|
|19-20||Atlanta Hawks||20-47||Not in playoffs|
* Carter was traded from Toronto to New Jersey after playing the first twenty games of the season for the Raptors.
** Carter was traded from Orlando to Phoenix after playing 22 games for the Magic.
Will Vince Carter make the Hall of Fame?
My ability to predict the future is not great. So I will rely on statistics to make the case as I so often do. In this case, I will go with Basketball Reference’s fun statistic Hall of Fame probability.
Without getting too far into the weeds, they use a player’s career statistics, individual accomplishments like All Star games, and success in terms of winning to predict their chances of making the Hall of Fame.
Vince’s odds are quite nice at 94.5%. That seems high enough that he is an extremely heavy favorite to get in, but not so high to say he is in without a doubt like a Steph Curry at 99.9%
Working in Vince’s favor are several factors. First he is in the top twenty all-time in NBA scoring. Voters love players who have long careers and end up on premiere all-time lists like that.
Aso, Vince had a high peak – he was considered one of the best players in the league at one point, he did not just last twenty years as a good player the whole time.
Finally, he is one of the greatest dunkers to ever play. While I would not factor that in, some voters may.
Working against Vince is one main factor: the winning. He never won at a very high or consistent level and some voters may hold that against him.
Vince Carter seems very likely to make the basketball Hall of Fame, but it is at least possible he might have to wait past the first ballot to get in.
Summary: Does Vince Carter Have a Ring?
Vince Carter never won a ring. As a star player, Vince was not the type to lead teams to victory by himself. He needed help from another star player and that type of pairing never happened for him. As a role player, Vince did not chase rings, instead choosing to sign with teams that let him play.
I have been a Boston sports fan for more than forty years. I write about games, players and seasons from the past.