The first Great Dunker Out Of Canada praises the next Great Dunker Out Of Canada

Few, if any, can claim more authority in the dunk business than Vince Carter.

His exploits at the rim over 22 seasons are legendary, earning the fifth-round pick in the 1998 NBA Draft the nickname “Half Man, Half Amazing.” Carter’s performance at the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest, which he won, is considered the pinnacle of the art form and is credited by some with saving the event from irrelevance and cancellation.

And Carter’s dunk over French center Frederic Weis 7-2, the “Dunk of Death” as it is known in Weis’ home country, at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney is widely regarded as the dunk the most most iconic in the history of sport.

The eight-time All-Star was much more than a one-trick player – you don’t last 22 years in the NBA just because of athleticism – although there’s no doubt that when most fans think of Vince Carter, they think dunks. So if you manage to pull off a knockdown that commands Carter’s respect, you know you’ve done something spectacular.

It took just six games for Trail Blazers rookie Shaedon Sharpe to earn the honor.

Carter left the storyline during his weekly “Upper Room” segment on ESPN’s NBA Today – he’s now an analyst for the network – in which he selects the best dunk from the previous week to award the one-handed assault of Sharpe at the rim in Portland’s 125-111 win over the Rockets on Oct. 28.

“There are levels! Carter exclaimed from Sharpe’s dunk. “Whenever you look at the ledge, it’s called the ‘Upper Room’. It’s the Upper Room, that’s what it’s all about. It’s levels to that.

Carter went on to explain, despite the protests of his less-informed colleagues, that you’ve stepped into thin air when you can make some of the most impressive athletes who have ever lived stand up and take notice.

“When your teammates and other people have to go like ‘Wait, what?’ it’s levels,” Carter said. “Shaedon Sharpe of London, Ont., welcome.

Sharpe, one of the more reserved 19-year-olds you’ll meet, was genuinely touched by Carter’s comments. While accolades are always nice, accolades for the best yet are a little different.

“I thought it was pretty cool to know that Vince Carter had seen the video,” Sharpe said. “He’s one of, I would say, the most rebounding players to ever take the game out and play. I think it’s pretty cool to see that, to see his reaction to the video.

What made the accolades even more special was the fact that Carter played his first six seasons in Toronto with the Raptors, where he earned the nickname “Air Canada” for his great abilities in the air, in Sharpe’s home country. So the many shoutouts to Sharpe’s hometown of London, Ont., from one of the most famous ballplayers to ply his trade in the Great White North made Carter’s comments particularly satisfying.

“As a young kid growing up watching basketball, I watched him play, make all these crazy plays,” said Sharpe, who has drawn comparisons to Carter before. “I really studied him and how he plays, especially with his athleticism. I think that’s pretty cool.”

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