42-year old Vince Carter is suiting up for the final season of his 22-year NBA career. He is regarded as a future Hall of Famer for several reasons – along with winning the Rookie of the Year award, he was an All-Star for eight straight seasons. Not to mention, he may be the most electric dunker the game has ever seen, as he easily put together the most memorable Slam Dunk contest performance in the history of the NBA, back in 2000.
Carter has shifted from being a star in this league to a role player, and while his minutes have waned due to father time, he is still playing at a high level and contributing. Carter has been fantastic on and off the court. He’s as good an interview as he is a teammate and mentor. The Hawks thought enough of him to hold a roster spot for him throughout the offseason. You would be hard-pressed to find an NBA fan who does not love Vince. He most certainly has a future on TV, amongst other potential avenues if he so chooses, after how fantastic of a job he has done for NBA TV during Summer League coverage.
But being inside the practice facility, it is still the same old Vince. He says he feels good, and that it has been a great camp so far. Despite a bright future when he hangs them up, Carter is going about things “business as usual.”
“I’m so caught up in trying to help these young guys get settled as quickly as possible; I tend to forget about that. I know its there, I understand that. The competitiveness and the atmosphere around here is so high and so fun you tend to forget about that.”
There is only one reason a 43-year-old with nothing left to prove in this league is still suiting up and trying to help young players develop: love of the game. However, we are still in the infant stages of the 2019-20 season. It will obviously get tougher on Carter down the stretch, but when will things start to hit him?
“You can ask me 100 times throughout the year, it won’t really hit as the last ‘whatever’ until the end of the year.” He added, “after the All-Star Break it flies by”.
Vince seems like a sincere guy, but I have a feeling he may start to feel a few “lasts” by the All-Star Break. Perhaps not. But one thing is for sure, if you are a casual fan of this league, you need to make it a point to watch Vince Carter contribute to this Hawks team as they grow and develop. He can still ball, and he may be able to log another 45-minute game like he did last year. We will be sure to check back in with Vince around the All-Star Break.
Perhaps Carter will even reach the playoffs one last time. When talking about the Hawks being in the hunt for the postseason, he suggested, “why not?”