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Carter won't enter dunk contest again: 'I don't ever want to tarnish' 2000 classic

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Sport / Getty

With Vince Carter in the midst of his 21st NBA season, there's been a movement among some to recruit him to compete in February's dunk contest at All-Star weekend. But Carter says it's not going to happen, and that's because he knows he can't come close to replicating his legendary performance in 2000.

"I don't think about doing it," the Atlanta Hawks veteran told teammate Kent Bazemore and Annie Finberg on The Ringer's "Winging It" podcast. "We all ... go back and talk about the dunk contest from 2000 and what it did for people and where you were and all of that, and I know what it did for me. So I feel like to taint it, 18-19 years later, why?"

Carter's spectacle as a member of the Toronto Raptors in 2000 rejuvenated the event and still goes down as likely the greatest dunk contest performance in NBA history. He never entered the contest after that, and like a musician or actor, Carter knows his masterpiece would be too much to live up to now.

"I think if I step on the court for someone to see a dunk, the first thing you're going to think about is 2000," he said. "And you're gonna compare that to 18-19 years later. And that's just too much time in between. What that did for me then, I don't ever want to tarnish it. And I feel like going out there, I'm just trying to relive something that should be left alone. Just like when we think some of our classic movies, like let's not reboot or remake, let's just leave it alone."

Carter, who turns 42 before All-Star weekend, would easily become the oldest NBA dunk contest participant ever if he chose to compete. His aging body is another reason he won't do it.

"(In 2000) it didn't matter, I could dunk fresh off the bus, off the plane," he said. "Now, meh, not so much."

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