Watch Vince Carter Turn Back Clock with Dunk Exhibition vs. Wizards

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 06:  Vince Carter #25 of the Dallas Mavericks during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 6, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mavericks defeated the Suns 97-94.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

NBA fans first fell in love with Vince Carter back in the late '90s. Why? Well, because the guy was probably the best dunker of his generation.

Carter also had a reputation as an excellent scorer in his first seven seasons, all spent with the Toronto Raptors, but his work above the rim was what made him stand out. He won the Slam Dunk Contest in 2000 and thus earned nicknames like "Air Canada" and "Vinsanity."

Unfortunately, age caught up with Carter, as it does with most dunkers. At age 35, most of his athleticism has deserted him, and he now serves as a shooter for the Dallas Mavericks.

That is, he did until Tuesday night.

The struggling Mavericks took on the lowly Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center Tuesday, and fans got one hell of a treat. On two separate occasions, the old Vince Carter came out to play.

The first instance occurred in the first quarter, with the Mavericks trailing 10-4. Following a missed jumper by teammate O.J. Mayo, Carter came out of nowhere to jump up and make the putback slam over the Wizards' Martell Webster.

The greater slam, however, came late in the fourth quarter. Dallas led 99-92 at this point and basically had the game in the bag. All Washington could really hope for was for one of their players to pull off a Reggie Miller miracle, but Carter would make sure that didn't happen.

On this possession, Carter was like his old self again. Instead of just getting open and waiting for the ball to come to him, he took this opportunity himself and unleashed an incredible tomahawk jam. The crazy part is that he was virtually untouched in his effort.

Dallas ended up winning 103-94, and Carter led the way with 23 points. It was nice to see him have such a productive game after being on the decline the past few seasons, but even better were his dunks. It was his own special way of saying, "Don't worry, fans. I've still got it!"

His Mavericks may be struggling mightily, but at least Carter still has enough of the old lightning left to keep the team's fans interested. In doing this, he can certainly go out with a bang once it's time for him to call it a career.