The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Pending free agent Vince Carter will return for 2019 NBA season

Pending free agent Vince Carter will return for 2019 NBA season

Carter to return
Atlanta Hawks forward Vince Carter (15) celebrates a three point shot during first half NBA basketball action against the Toronto Raptors, in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Some NBA players can stave off father time for a little while, but Vince Carter seems to have slammed the door in the old man’s face several times already. Carter, 42-year-old Vince Carter, has said he wants to play basketball for one more year. If a team does decide to sign Carter this summer, he will play in his 22nd season next year. Currently, Carter’s 21 seasons are tied with Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Willis, and Robert Parish for the most seasons by a player in NBA history, which means he’ll own the record by this time next year.

Since Nowitzki officially retired after this season, Carter is the only player left in the league who was drafted before 2000. Carter was taken by the Golden State Warriors with the 5th Overall pick in the 1998 draft, but he was traded to the Toronto Raptors for fellow rookie Antawn Jamison and some cash before the start of his rookie season. The 1998 draft also produced Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, and Tyronn Lue. Currently, the second oldest active player in the NBA is Jamal Crawford, who was drafted in 2000 and is 39 years old.

Carter has carved out a legacy fitting for a player whose career touches three different decades. The eight-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA selection, and former Rookie of the Year is best known for bringing entire stadiums to their feet with hair raising dunks. His acrobatic scoring earned him nicknames like “Vinsanity”, “Half-Man/Half-Amazing”, and “Air Canada”. He has some of the best dunks in dunk contest history and, along with Michael Jordan, is one of the best in-game dunkers in history. The funny thing is, Carter can still dunk despite the years of punishment his knees have taken.

While Carter has been one of the most electrifying, enjoyable players to watch in NBA history, he has yet to win a championship. His closest shot came in 2009-10 when he and Dwight Howard carried the Orlando Magic to the Eastern Conference Finals, but they lost to the Boston Celtics’ big three. Since then, Carter has jumped around from mediocre team to mediocre team, only making it out of the first round of the playoffs one more time, in 2014-15 with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Last year Carter played on the Sacramento Kings and this year he was with the Atlanta Hawks, both of which were lottery teams. With the curtain set to fall on his long career in roughly a year, it would be nice to see Carter sign with a championship contender this summer, even if it means he takes a very limited role.

While he won’t get the farewell tour that Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and Nowitzki all received, Carter is still a top ten to 12 shooting guard of all-time and a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. And, for the people lucky enough to see him in his prime, he was one of the most awe-inspiring athletes in sports. I guess you could say he still is.

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