Vince Carter had three main nicknames and all of them were based on his unreal dunking ability. Carter got the nickname Air Canada when he was flying in for dunks for the Toronto Raptors. He got the names Half Man Half Amazing and Vinsanity as his career went along for the same reason: he could dunk like almost no other.
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Why was Vince Carter called Air Canada?
Carter was selected 5th overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 1998 NBA draft then was immediately traded to the Toronto Raptors who were in their infancy as a franchise. Carter won the dunk contest his rookie year and became known as a fierce in-game dunker as well.
Carter’s game, where he seemed to float by opposing players unaffected by gravity, earned him the name Air Canada. The name came from the obvious fact that Toronto is a city in Canada and Air Canada is the flag carrier for the country.
Air Canada is also easily the biggest airline in the country. The company bought the naming rights for the arena where the Raptors played their home games, so Vince played in the Air Canada Center or the ACC.
So it makes sense that a young player winning dunk contests and flying around for a Canadian team in the Air Canada Center started to become known as Air Canada. If he had never left Toronto, the name may have stuck.
But Carter only lasted a bit over six seasons playing in Canada before moving on to the New Jersey Nets, so Air Canada did not stick too well.
Why was Vince Carter called Vinsanity?
Vince Carter became known as Vinsanity because his dunks made people crazy.
No one could plausibly claim that he is not ONE of the greatest dunkers of all time. And those dunks absolutely made people go crazy.
None more so than when a young Vince stole the ball and dunked by leaping over the 7’2 French center Frederic Weis in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
If for some reason you have not seen it, check it out below.You’ll know why people went insane watching Vince Carter dunk. And why he became known as Vinsanity.
Why was Vince Carter called Half Man Half Amazing?
I first heard the nickname ½ Man ½ Amazing used for streetball legend Antony Hayward who claims he had the name first. I think he may be right.
I remember watching the And1 tour and other streetball shows and hearing Hayward called this without any reference to Carter.
Hayward claims he got the nickname at the legendary Rucker Park in New York when the MC Duke Tango called him that after a ferocious dunk on a much bigger player. Both because I remember him being called it and because it sounds about right to me, I believe Hayward’s version.
In any case, Vince Carter had a much larger stage than the And1 tour. And his dunks were insane and kept on coming. Eventually, some people, who probably heard the name in New York or from the streetball tours, started calling Vince Half Man Half Amazing and it stuck.
At the time in the early 00’s, streetball nicknames were becoming common and this one fit Carter to at T. So Vince became what he was: Half Man Half Amazing.
Summary: Vince Carter’s Nicknames
Vince Carter had 3 different nicknames and each one was based on his defining basketball skill: the ability to fly through the air and dunk on some fool. Carter got his Air Canada nickname playing for the Toronto Raptors. His Vinsanity name came from the ridiculousness of some of his dunks and how crazy they made the crowd. The name Half Man Half Amazing came for the same reasons and because of the success of streetball tours and the nicknames that went with them in the early 2000’s.
I have been a Boston sports fan for more than forty years. I write about games, players and seasons from the past.