By Chris Johnston
Carter, for the kids
On July 30, two days before signing the most lucrative contract in Canadian sports history, Vince Carter landed Ryerson’s Kerr Gym. The Toronto Raptor’s two-time NBA all-star held a youth camp at Ryerson from July 30 to Aug. 2. The camp kicked off his inaugural summer jam, a week of basketball-related activities designed to promote the game in Toronto. Carter appeared on opening day to give some basketball tips and concluded the day with a 20-minute speech about the importance of fair play and education.
“You have to get your education so that you have something to fall back on,” said Carter, who was criticized by the media for attending his college graduation at the University of North Carolina on the morning of he Raptors’ game seven playoff loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. “I am definitely going to go [back to school] and get my masters.”
Carter got his biggest reaction from the kids during a question and answer session when he revealed that he completed his first dunk at the age of 12, when he was only 5-foot-7. The four-day camp, which cost the 300 participants (150 per four-hour session) $250, was designed to develop fundamental skills and team concept of basketball. But for participants such as Angus Affleck, the camp was all about having fun and meeting one of the NBA’s biggest stars. “It’s awesome…the best part of my life,” Affleck said.
Carter’s big week also included a sold-out all-star game at the Air Canada Centre, and other camps and workshops around Toronto. Bu the most significant part of the week may have been Aug. 1, when Carter agreed to a six-year, $94-million contract extension with the Raptors.
Proceeds from the camps, the all-star game, and other basketball-related events were donated to Vince’s Embassy of Hope Foundation, and a variety of other local children’s charities. “Giving back tot eh community is a priority for me,” said Carter. “I really enjoy working with kids because I want them to know that with determination and education they can achieve their dreams.”