Title: Eighteen years after Vince Carter’s miss, my 18 favorite things about The Kawhi Leonard Shot
Date: May 13, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Kawhi Leonard’s historic game-winner in Game 7 against the 76ers, reflecting on its parallels to Vince Carter’s 2001 miss in the same situation and laying out my favorite moments within The Moment.
Five dribbles. Four bounces on the rim. 3.8 seconds between Kawhi Leonard’s gather and when the ball dropped through the net. An eternity in the moment, inviting a veritable lifetime of basketball flashbacks.
There are a dozen ways to watch Leonard’s Game 7 winner, the first ever Game 7 walk-off shot in NBA history, eyes darting around or, at least when you first saw it, breathlessly fixated on the ball frozen above the rim. There are a thousand things you could notice upon rewatch after rewatch, and surely you’ve played it back – through video, with different music clips over top of it, in photographs, in your head, an instantly indelible memory the likes of which the Raptors have never been on the positive side of — plenty by now.
The series going seven games necessitates a quick pivot in focus toward the Milwaukee Bucks. That’s coming. NBA players and coaches are fond of saying they will enjoy a victory until midnight and then turn the page to the next challenge. We’re affording ourselves a little longer here given the enormity of Leonard’s shot. There’s just too many times you can watch it and too many things to appreciate.
It was 18 years ago that Vince Carter, at the height of his popularity and the initial basketball explosion in Canada, took a similar shot. Game 7. The Philadelphia 76ers. A baseline 2-point jumper over an outstretched arm. Leonard’s dropped, though, and through that never-ending moment brought catharsis. Eighteen years after Carter’s shot bounced the wrong way, here are 18 of my favorite moments within the moment where Leonard’s didn’t.