During the early parts of the new millennium, few players were more significant than Allen Iverson and Vince Carter. Iverson mesmerized the world with his otherworldly handles as he broke opponents’ ankles en-route to the NBA Finals.
Carter made his name performing high-flying feats of athleticism that even made Michael Jordan say, “Wow.” However, Iverson recently revealed that Carter had another hidden talent off the court, and it might not be what you expected.
Allen Iverson’s career
After a long and rough journey leading up to his NBA career, Allen Iverson finally got to show the basketball world why he had been hyped since high school after the 1996 NBA Draft. While he did not have the size of a typical superstar, he made up for it with a competitive drive and fearlessness that made him impossible to guard when mixed with his speed. He was the 2001 MVP and despite losing to the Lakers, the star of the 2001 NBA Finals.
Iverson’s imposing presence made him a favorite among fans and colleagues alike. As he elevated the Philadelphia 76ers to the top of the Eastern Conference, his footprint on the league grew ever-bigger. He was essential to the league’s hip-hop oriented image of the early 2000s, much to the league’s chagrin. Although he occasionally made headlines for the wrong reasons, few were more popular than Iverson at his peak.
After Iverson left the 76ers in 2006 after over a decade with the team. At the time, he averaged nearly 28 points per game to go along with six assists for his career, according to Sports Reference. While he saw further success in Denver, where he played alongside a young Carmelo Anthony, Iverson’s overall career was never the same after he left Philadelphia. He struggled to cope with age and smaller roles, and he developed a poor reputation among general managers.
After brief stints in Detroit and Memphis, he returned to the 76ers for 25 games before calling it a career for good.
Vince Carter’s career
If Iverson struggled to age gracefully, Carter passed that test with flying colors. Coming into the still relatively new Toronto Raptors in 1998 as the fifth overall pick in the NBA Draft, the Raptors didn’t know that their trade for Carter would bring basketball to Canada on a bigger scale. Carter, alongside a young Tracy McGrady and a rotating cast of other players, took over the NBA in his early years.
The NBA had several high-flyers, from Jordan to Erving, but none could fly like Carter. His performance at the 2000 Dunk Contest is still one of the most dominant in history. His play on the court was equally impressive. While he never won a Championship ring, his Raptors teams were always in the mix come playoff time.
After a tumultuous ending to his career in Toronto, Carter moved on to the New Jersey Nets for four years, playing alongside Jason Kidd. Again, the team never made it to the promised land. Around this time, Carter was in his early thirties and did not have the same ferocity as he had a decade earlier. However, after brief stops in Orlando in Phoenix, both of them mostly forgettable, Carter rebranded as a veteran presence.
In his later years as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, and Atlanta Hawks, Carter became the consummate veteran presence, bypassing personal stats to become a valuable member of every locker room. His career ended after a record 22 seasons when the Hawks’ season was cut short with the COVID-19 scare.
Carter’s hidden talent
Although Iverson and Carter’s paths crossed many times throughout their careers. Although they never played as teammates, they forged a friendship as members of the NBA fraternity. Iverson beamed speaking about his former rival in a recent interview with GQ magazine.
“Some of them, I was on the bad end of them,” Iverson said. “We had so many battles, but I just love Vince Carter—the person, even more than the basketball player. Just a great talent, a great gift to the world, a blessing to the fans. It was an honor to be able to compete with him and to know him off the court.”
However, one thing that stuck out to Iverson was not Carter’s abilities on the basketball court. Instead, he focused the interview on a secret talent Carter had when they hung out off the court. Iverson praised Carter’s dancing ability, stating that he was not just great but also one of the best.
“He’s like super incredible,” Iverson said. “I don’t know if too many people know it, but the guys and the females that know Vince—know him personally—know that he’s like a top-five dancer in the whole world… Any dance in any style, he can do it. Whatever the young kids can do, whatever the fad is, Vince can do it.”
Now that Carter is done in the NBA, maybe he can display these moves to a public audience. Either way, Iverson’s words help show us that every player has secret talents away from basketball, and sometimes just knowing about this is enough to spur our curiosity elsewhere.