The NBA says goodbye to Vince Carter
A few days ago, an era came to an end. After announcing it on his own podcast, “Winging It,” Atlanta Hawks small forward Vince Carter officially has decided to draw the curtains close on an illustrious playing career that has extended over the last 22 years.
Carter began his playing career with the Toronto Raptors in the 1999 NBA shortened season until 2005 when he became a member of the then-New Jersey Nets. After spending four years there, Vince spent the next nine seasons playing for the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, and Hawks where he finally ended his playing career.
Now, to the new-age sports fan, they’ll just remember a solid role-playing 3-point shooter who seemed to just find a new team every other year while slowly becoming a lifer in the league.
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To everyone else; however, Vince will be remembered for who he truly was. Half man. Half amazing.
Before Vince Carter was the “glue guy,” he was the main guy. Before he was the “missing piece,” he was the key. Before he was the “veteran presence,” Vince was the superstar. It wasn’t always nine points on 3-5 shooting from 3 in 15 or 20 minutes off the bench. Most nights, 20 minutes were played by halftime, and nine points were had in each quarter.
It wasn’t always a heavy jog like pace from one 3-point line to the other 3-point line. It was more often then not he was Giselle-like as he took lob after lob on his way to Sportscenter Top 10 nominations. The game was easy for Vince. Just as easy as it was for every superstar before him.
Since 2003, LeBron James has been the one name that constantly comes up in comparison to the next biggest thing. The next Michael Jordan. It wasn’t long before that when Vince Carter was claiming the same praise.
In an ESPN article published in October of 1999, Vince was seen on the cover in a Toronto Raptors uniform with the word, “Next,” in bold lettering.
Little did they know, an NBA record 22 seasons later, Vince Carter would still be playing ball at the age of 43 with over 1500 games under his belt.
Now, even with Vince at this advanced stage of his career, he’s still found a way to break records. For starters, the 1500 plus games he’s played in behind only two other NBA legends in their own right, Robert Parish and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. However, Vince has done something those two and anybody else in the league hasn’t done. Vince Carter is the only player in the history of the league to play in four different decades.
All in all, Vince Carter had a remarkable career. In his prime, Vince laid the groundwork of his epic, “Vinsanity” era to the tune of 25,728 career points, and was savvy enough to develop his game for longevity which led to the 22-year career once his athleticism diminished. He was a record-breaker on both ends of his career, which isn’t the problem. The problem is for those of you who didn’t get to witness the Vince the others grew to love.
Thanks, Vince! From all the fans who knew you, we all knew you could fly before you became an Atlanta Hawk.