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Vince Carter Reveals He Recruited Shaq to Raptors, Details Why It Didn't Work

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 27, 2019

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 07:  Vince Carter #15 of the Atlanta Hawks walks across the court in the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Fiserv Forum on April 07, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The NBA's history is littered with various "what if?" questions, and another one may be tacked onto the list after Vince Carter told Jacob Feldman of Sports Illustrated that he "was close" in his attempt to get superstar big man Shaquille O'Neal to play with him on the Toronto Raptors:

"No. The only time I can recall is I tried to get Shaq to Toronto. I felt like it was close. It was tough at the time, just because...a lot of guys were like, 'What's Canada about?'

"It was tough to convince players that it's a great place until they're actually there. Even me, when I worked out for them, I didn't really know what they had to offer until I was actually there."

O'Neal played for six NBA teams but never made his way up north. Carter, who did not say when he tried to convince the superstar big man to join him, played in Toronto from 1998 until Dec. 2004. O'Neal teamed with Kobe Bryant for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 until the 2004 offseason.

A Carter-Shaq pairing probably would have made the Raptors one of the league's most entertaining teams in recent history. Both men are known for their highlight-reel dunks, with Carter's slam over Frederic Weis in the 2000 Olympics and Shaq's backboard breakers both garnering millions of views on YouTube.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

18 years ago today, Vince Carter jumped OVER 7'2" Frederic Weis. Still one of the craziest dunks ever 🐐 https://t.co/Um9R38iSGT

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

26 years ago today, Shaq tore down the entire backboard as a rookie. MONSTER. https://t.co/TLCNtHctxH

Those two together would have been a legendary pairing, but it never materialized. The two also missed playing on the same Olympic team, with Shaq participating in 1996 and Carter taking part in 2000. Both won gold medals, however.

O'Neal has long since retired and been enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Carter will join him there someday, although the 42-year-old has said he plans to play another NBA season with the Atlanta Hawks before retiring.