I know that you were only with the Nets for 4 fulls seasons (It seems like so much longer doesn’t it), and this might be silly to do for a guy that has been here for 4 years, but you deserve it. I remember when I found out the Nets had traded for you, I was happy because we got you for basically nothing, but I wasn’t ecstatic. I saw how things went down with you and Toronto. The accusations of not playing hard, the injuries, the selfishness, and the failures in the clutch.
However, once you landed in New Jersey, you put all of my concerns at ease. Not playing hard? I haven’t seen you take a play off your entire Nets’ career. The injuries? I thought we were getting a broken down star when you came, but you only missed missed 11 games in your four years here. The selfishness? Despite being paired with two other “stars” you didn’t butt-heads with either, and in the end, you were the last one standing. Heck, when Lawrence Frank decided to go to the dribble drive offense to showcase Devin Harris more, you didn’t make a peep. You just played the best basketball of his career. The failures in the clutch? I couldn’t be more comfortable having anyone else taking the shot at the end. Just look at that game against Toronto this year.
The thing that impressed me the most about you this past season was how you were a professional through everything. Playing hard even though we were out of (realistically rather than mathematically) playoff contention, through the trade rumors, and through the shift in offensive philosophy. It’s going to be strange not seeing you do your pull-up on the net before the games. It is going to be strange not seeing all of the Vince Carter jerseys walking the tunnel to and in the stadium. Most of all, it is going to be strange not hearing our PA Announcer screaming “VC3” after a big three-point bucket.
I want to personally wish you luck next year in Orlando. You are now going to play on your first “championship contending team,” plus you will be playing in your hometown. I kind of want to think that Rod Thorn purposely sent you to Orlando as one last “thank you” gesture, because I know how much he enjoyed having you on the team both on and off the court. When you went back to Toronto for the first time, you were greeted with a chorus of boos. I doubt that will happen when you will come back to Jersey, I know for a fact that you will be cheered when your name is announced. I know it seems a little corny to write you this open letter when you were only a part of this team for 4 years, but the way you represented the Nets, you deserved it.
Fans of the New Jersey Nets
Please don’t drop 40 when you come back to the IZod center. Take it easy on us.