January 26 ~  Work Harder Toronto Raptors 1999 Road Jersey

"As you get older, you have to work harder to keep up and maintain your abilities. I put the work in to stay competitive with the young guys" ~ Vince Carter

Vince Carte

NBA superstar Vincent Lamar Carter, Jr. (1977-) was born on this day in Daytona Beach, Florida and was a drum major and played baritone and saxophone in his high school marching band.

"Just be yourself and do what you can do, ... Everybody is different. Everybody has different styles. Just do it the best way you know how," he once said.

After leading his team to three NCAA tournaments, Carter left the University of North Carolina after his junior year to join the Toronto Raptors. The hard-working forward/guard was named Rookie of the Year in 1999.

"I play the game to win, but I also play the game for the fans to have a good time and get their money's worth," he said.

Carter was nicknamed "Showtime" by his fans for his gravity-defying court moves and slam dunks--celebrations of body control and power. His 360-windmill and between-the-legs dunks at the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest were legendary.

"Dunkers come and go," Carter said. "You can go down to the playground and find a bunch of guys who can do fancy dunks. The great players excel at all aspects of the game. That's what I want to be."

A passionate believer in giving back to the community, Carter established a charitable foundation called the Embassy of Hope to help children and their parents with "Believing in Your Dreams." He was also named a Goodwill Ambassador by the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America.

"Just as my success was not reached in isolation, the success of other young people needs the support of many," said Carter who was traded to the New Jersey Nets in 2004 and signed a four-year, $62 million contract with the team in 2007.

Work it to keep up.