Former Raptors star Vince Carter, 43, retires after record 22 NBA seasons

Former Raptors star Vince Carter, 43, retires after record 22 NBA seasons

Vince Carter made his retirement official on Thursday, announcing on his podcast that his 22-year NBA career has come to an end.

The announcement was largely a formality because the 43-year-old Carter had said many times over the course of this season that this would be his last in the NBA. His 22 seasons are the most in league history, and he became the first NBA player to appear in four different decades.

“Vince Carter has made an indelible impact on the NBA with his remarkable skill and enduring commitment,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who lauded Carter as “a true ambassador of the game.”

Carter appeared in 1,541 NBA games, behind only Robert Parish (1,611) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) on the league’s all-time list. He started his career with the Toronto Raptors, then played for New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento and spent his final two seasons with Atlanta. He earned US$184.351 million in salary over his career, according to website HoopsHype.com.

Carter was acquired by Toronto shortly after he was selected fifth overall by Golden State at the 1998 NBA draft. He played just over six seasons for the Raptors before they traded the eight-time all-star to New Jersey.

He was Public Enemy No. 1 in Toronto for a long time after he left, but fans have since warmed up to the man who is seen as a huge reason why Canada is now rich in young basketball talent.

“Inspired so many Canadian kids,” two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, who is from Victoria, said on social media. ”Pre VC a couple Canadians in the NBA and this year up to 20 were on NBA rosters. Thank you VC!”

Carter won the NBA rookie of the year award in 1999, and the dunk contest in 2000 while with Toronto.

The Raptors paid tribute to their former star on Twitter.

“Thank you for inspiring a nation to believe. Thank you for laying the foundation of basketball in Canada. Thank you for letting us fly with you. Thank you for a lifetime of memories. Love, Canada,” the team posted Thursday.

Carter’s first season was the 1998-99 campaign, which was shortened to 50 games because of labour strife. His final season was shortened by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Hawks will not be part of the 22 teams headed to the Disney complex near Orlando, Florida, next month for the planned resumption of NBA play.

“It’s kind of a cool situation for me because I came into the league on a shortened season and I walk away from the league on a shortened season,” Carter said on the “Winging It” podcast. “So for me, it’s just kind of a unique situation.”

Carter scored 25,728 points in his career, 19th-most in NBA history. He had 9,420 with Toronto, the fourth-highest total in franchise history behind DeMar DeRozan (13,296), Chris Bosh (10,275) and Kyle Lowry (9,649). He averaged 23.4 points per game over his time with Toronto.

He received a standing ovation during a video tribute in Atlanta’s 130-114 loss at Toronto on Jan. 28. That would end up being his last NBA game north of the border, as a an April 10 meeting at Scotiabank Arena was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hawks quickly lauded Carter for what he’s done, not just in two years with Atlanta but over the totality of his career.

“Throughout his historic 22-year journey covering an unprecedented four different decades, his evolving career arc was perhaps like none other in league history — from Top 5 Draft Pick to Rookie of the Year to Slam Dunk Champion to superstar and eight-time All-Star to Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year and valuable role player,” the Hawks said on their website.

Carter’s last game was March 11, a contest the Hawks lost at home in overtime to New York. By the time that game was winding down, the NBA already had announced that it was suspending the season at the conclusion of that night’s play after Utah centre Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league known to test positive for the coronavirus.

The moment was not lost on Atlanta fans, who chanted “We want Vince!” repeatedly with 19.5 seconds left in overtime and with the Knicks’ victory clearly decided. Carter checked back into the game at that point, inbounded the ball to Trae Young, then trailed the play as the Hawks headed downcourt.

Young flipped the ball back to Carter, who took an uncontested three-pointer. The shot went in, Carter threw his arms skyward, and the clock ran out on the game a few seconds later.

What many suspected would be the case that night became reality: The clock had run out on Carter’s career, too.

“There were times, probably in April, I was like, ‘Man, I wish this didn’t happen like that,’” Carter said. “And then, after a while, I was kind of like, ‘It is what it is.’ Once I was able to kind of put that aside and say: ‘Retire, Vince. You can go and golf now,’ it’s been easier.”

Carter helped USA Basketball win gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics — highlighted by his dunk over seven-foot-two French centre Frederic Weis — and the 2003 FIBA Americas tournament.

He played college basketball for three years at North Carolina, starting his career there under Dean Smith, and Carter’s retirement means there are no more Smith-coached players left in the NBA.

“Half Man, Half Amazing, ALL class!” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce wrote on Twitter in a message to Carter. “It’s been an honour and a privilege for me to work with you.”

Carter said he will still play the game of basketball — for fun. It has long been expected that television networks will pursue him as an analyst, something he’s dabbled in at NBA Summer League in recent years.

“I’m officially done playing basketball professionally,” Carter said. “I’ll play at home.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Associated Press

NBA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

Ma & Paws Pet Supplies. Facebook/ Ma & Paws Pet Supplies.
Rimbey residents petition for dog park

Request for approval of dog park will be brought up at Tuesday Oct. 27 Town Council meeting.

The future site of the Rimbey Travel Centre. Web photo
New Rimbey development aims to capitalize on highway traffic

Phase I of the Rimbey Travel Centre would be along Hwy. 20, if approved

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

soup
Rimbey FCSS to introduce the Cultural Community Kitchen

The Cultural Community Kitchen sessions will be held at the Rimbey Co-op

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 22, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were ‘late and confused’ on COVID response

He says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has taken charge and not waited to make things happen

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Most Read