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On This Date in Sports February 12, 2000: Vinsanity

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Vince Carter revitalizes the Slam Dunk Contest with a show-stopping performance on NBA All-Star Weekend in Oakland. It is the first dunk contest since 1997. There was no Slam Dunk contest at the 1998 All-Star Game and the 1999 All-Star festivities were canceled due to a lockout. Using a dunk in which he put the ball in between his legs, Vince Carter scores three perfect scores of 50 as Steve Francis of the Houston Rockets finished second, while Carter's cousin Tracy McGrady a teammate on the Raptors finished third. 

The Slam Dunk contest first appeared at the 1976 ABA All-Star Game as a showcase for New York Nets star Julius Erving's aerial skills. When the NBA All-Star Game was held in Denver, at the same arena as the 1976 ABA All-Star Game, the dunk contest was held again, this time with Larry Nance of the Phoenix Suns getting the win. Over the next few years, the Slam Dunk contest began to become the highlight of All-Star weekend thanks to show stopping dunks by Dominique Wilkens of the Atlanta Hawks and Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls. 

The Slam Dunk Contest remained popular, but the star factor in the contest began to fade as players like Cedric Ceballos of the Suns and Harold Miner and Miami Heat began to takeover. By 1996, with the victory of Brent Barry of the Los Angeles Clippers showing the contest had lost its luster. Not even Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers winning at the age of 19 could revive the magic of the contest, leading the NBA to discontinue the contest in 1998. Instead the NBA held a 2-Ball contest with WNBA All-Stars, which did not win over many fans. 

The NBA had planned to bring back the Slam Dunk Contest in 1999, but a prolonged labor dispute led the game to be cancelled. By the time the 2000 All-Star Weekend arrived there were a new crop of stars to again take the Slam Dunk Contest to new heights. While Steve Francis and Tracy McGrady had impresive showings, the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest became a showcase for Vince Carter. Carter a rising star for he Toronto Raptors etched his name in NBA lore with some of the best dunks ever seen, including one inwhich he put the ball in between his legs in mid-air. 

Vince Carter would continue to show his dunking ability over the summer as he lept of Frederic Weis of France during the Olympic Games in Syndney. Carter would play two decades in the NBA, putting together a Hall of Fame worthy career.