Vintage Vince Carter puts Emeka Okafor on poster

DALLAS -- The vintage Vinsanity moment wasn’t for show. It was out of necessity.

Vince Carter didn’t intend to add to his massive collection of YouTube-classic dunks when he beat Marco Belinelli. He just thought it was the only way he’d score over Hornets big man Emeka Okafor, one of the NBA’s better shot blockers.

“If I go up soft, he’s going to block it,” Carter said on his way out of the American Airlines Center after the Mavs’ win Saturday night. “I’ve had many experiences with him doing that. I saw him coming, I saw him waiting, I saw him getting ready to jump -- I’ve got to attack him. I didn’t know what was going to happen after that.”

Amazing happened.

Carter, who turns 35 later this month, turned back the clock. He took off as his feet touched the paint, soared high over Okafor while cocking the ball back with his right hand before finishing ferociously to bring the sellout crowd to its feet.

Sure, it only counted as two points, something Carter says when explaining why he doesn’t launch for highlight dunks on a regular basis any more. But it was two points that got the entire building buzzing and sparked a somewhat sluggish Mavs squad.

“I’m not going to sit here and say it’s not fun,” Carter said with a smile. “It’s just I don’t make it my business to go out and do it.”

Nowadays, Carter uses that kind of force only when necessary.

It doesn’t happen nearly as often as it did back in the day, but there is no doubt that Carter can still throw it down.

“Vince’s still got a little spring in those legs,” said Mavs big man Brendan Haywood, who watched Carter dunk on many a big man during their college days as Tar Heels. “If he gets that step on you, he can still get up.”

Just ask Okafor. Or watch SportsCenter.