April 2000: Butch Carter Self-Destructs
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.” (Hamlet Act II, Scene II)
Insanity is a helluva thing. While you may expect that it lurks in the mind of a man, you can never tell until pressure is applied. Like the pressure of coaching an NBA team in its first playoff appearance.
Competing in the 2000 NBA playoffs should have been a crowning achievement for Butch Carter. After all, the young coach took the reigns of a 16-win team and in two short seasons finished with a 45-37 record and a playoff berth. However, the pressure of this larger stage clearly overwhelmed Carter, who subsequently acted out in a sequence of increasingly bizarre ways. When the dust settled, the Raptors found themselves swept out of the playoffs, and Butch found himself out of a job.
But what I fear is lost on the casual fan is not only the tragic scale of this Dubious Moment, but the complexity of Butch Carter himself. To illustrate, The Flagrancy contrasts the actions of Butch Carter against one of the most tragic of figures ever: Hamlet.
And Butch, if by chance you’re reading and take offence—I got yer 5 million duckets right here!