The New Jump Man

Updated: December 16, 1999, 2:47 PM ET
By Tim Keown | ESPN The Magazine
Vince Carter arrives in three-second bursts, or about as long as it takes for two dribbles and a dunk. This is what you know before you know anything else. This is the introduction.

Two dribbles and a dunk doesn't tell you much. If they're the right three seconds, they can tell you that gravity is somebody else's problem. Those three seconds can help explain why Carter is seen on late-night television as often as a Chuck Norris infomercial. In the span of those three seconds, he can make you open your mouth involuntarily and shake your head and look around for someone to did-you-see-that with, even when you know you're alone. Watching him take someone off the dribble and dunk, as he did most famously to Indiana's Chris Mullin last season, is like watching a large animal devour a smaller one. But beyond those surface facts, beyond the immediate awe, you're on your own to take those three seconds and expand them into something deeper and more substantial.

Tim Keown | email

ESPN Senior Writer