Vince Carter is the NBA’s oldest active player at 42 years and 38 days old. In an interview on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, he said he wants to play another year. Holy crap.
“I think I could stretch it out one more,” Carter said, after suggesting 43 was the age he had in mind for retirement. “At the end of the year, I assess from top to bottom to see how I’m feeling, and obviously opportunity, when the phone rings and a team shows interest, that’s a good thing. I think I can give it another year so why not? We’ll see what happens.”
Carter is the fifth-oldest player in NBA history. The oldest, Nat Hickey, played in the Basketball Association of America until he was 45 and 363 days old in 1948, while Kevin Willis played in the NBA until 2003 when he was 44 and 224 days old. Playing another year in the league will see Carter pass Dikembe Mutombo as the fourth-oldest to ever do it.
When asked if he had any secrets for his longevity in the league, Carter said he’s focused on training more than the average guy, eating properly, lifting after games, and ensuring he gets proper rest. It sounds simple, but after playing 21 years in the league, it isn’t.
Carter still has it. Another year? Hell yes!
Carter has played in 61 games this year, averaging seven points, three rebounds, and shooting 41 percent from three-point range. He can still play in an NBA team’s rotation. This isn’t just a farewell party to an all-time great.
Heck, it was just a few weeks ago when Vinsanity was nearly reborn and he almost threw down on Karl-Anthony Towns:
On PTI, Cater talked about what he’s thinking mentally when he dunks now.
“It’s OK going up,” he said. “It’s the landing. I’m looking for a soft landing. If this was the old days where the game wasn’t as fast, I’d hold onto the rim a little longer. Now you can’t do that because teams are playing so fast. If I hold onto the rim now, my guy is probably going to get a layup on the other end. It’s like get up there, get it done, handle your landing and get back.”
Carter’s been a bit sensitive to when reporters ask about how he does stuff at his age, and he should be. He’s legitimately proven he can hang with the rest of the league still. He tried to get this reporter to outright say he thought Carter was old, and it was hilarious:
Reporter: "Do you think you're gonna play Sunday?"— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) March 2, 2019
Vince Carter: "Why not?" pic.twitter.com/fhzw5p7PSF
Now the question is, which team?
Carter is on a one-year contract with the Atlanta Hawks, so he will be a free agent this summer. Unlike other older players, Carter values playing time and mentoring young teammates above all else. He made it very clear he isn’t going to ring-chase.
“I want to play. I get out there, I can still play the game. I can still compete. Sitting on the end of a bench to win a ring, I didn’t come up that way. It’s something I can’t do.
“To contribute as a mentor and as an example on the court is something I want to enjoy. Every player wants to win a championship, and that’s something I would love to do. But to sacrifice playing the game to do so is not something I’m interested in.”
It sounds as if Carter is at peace with not making the postseason, or at least a legitimate run in May. Atlanta seems to be the perfect fit if it’ll have him back, but we’ll have to see where rosters stand this summer.
Every losing team should want to have a veteran like Vince Carter on its bench.