Careers begin, and careers end. It is time for the wonderful career of Vince Carter to go down, and he has written his name in the good books of the NBA game.
Spanning a whopping 22 years, Carter has seen it all in the league.
According to him, this is the time when he has to say goodbye to the court. He thinks that it’s time to be “officially done playing basketball professionally.”
This was mostly a formality because the 43-year-old Carter has always claimed that this is his last in the NBA in the context of this season. He’s become the first NBA star in four decades, and his 22 seasons are the most in League history.
Covid-19’s Influence on Carter’s Retirement
Atlanta is one of 8 teams that ended their season with the Covid-19 interrupting when they decided to restart the match in Florida next month with 22 teams. The Hawks played their 2019-20 final game on March 11, a loss of 136-131 to the New York Knicks, in which Carter took part and sank in a 3-pointer overtime with 13.4 seconds left.
The last shot, Carter said, made it a little easier to swallow his NBA exit.
“Making my last shot helped the situation. I think if I didn’t make my last shot, it’d have been a little different. It’d have felt a little different. I’d have been itching to, at least get back and play one minute and make one shot — I don’t care what it would be: free throw, layup, I don’t care,” Carter said. “As a player playing your last game — whether you know it or not — you always want to say, ‘well, at least I made the last shot of my career.’ And I can say that, so I’m happy.”
Carter’s decision to retire was also motivated by the coronavirus pandemic, especially how it impacted the United States and the world as a whole.
“I’m not going to say since March 11 (I knew I was going to retire), I’m not going to say since that day, but pretty close,” Carter said. “Since the end of March — we’ve talked about it — I felt that it was pretty much over. That’s kind of how I’ve handled it. It made for, and if there was any disappointment because of the season or any of that, it was easier to put it aside and handle it that way. It’s something bigger than my career.
“With the coronavirus, it was taking people’s lives rapidly — that’s the big picture in my mind. I was able to put the weird ending, the abrupt stoppage of play to an ending, aside for the bigger picture. You’re worried about family, friends, and as you go further on, there’s always going to be somebody close to you or pretty close by way of somebody that’s been affected by it.”
Carter has had the opportunities to play golf since he was retired, which he said helped ease his transition from an active player to the retirement.
Career Well Lived
As Carter started his NBA career with the Toronto Raptors in 1998, the NBA wiped out most of his rookies in a bitter labor dispute. On July 30 in Orlando, the NBA will restart its season, but neither Carter nor the Hawks will be involved.
According to him, he feels the time is right. Getting left out of the team, reading it in the papers, or hearing it did not affect him.
In January, Carter was the first NBA player in four separate decades to feature in a contest. Although he’s probably best known for his Raptors season, Carter was also involved in the New Jersey Net, Orlando Magic, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings before he spent the last two years with the Hawks.
Carter exits NBA number 19 on the all-time score chart with a two-time pick of all-NBA teams throughout his career. In nearly every class in Raptors history, he is also rated in the Top 10, including scoring points (4th), assists (6th), robberies (5th), blocks (4th), field goals (3rd) and 3-pointers (5ths).