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

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owner found

Father and son found miniature horse while out for a walk at JJ Collett

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

Paula Law took the oath of office on Oct. 19 with Lacombe County Manager Tim Timmons. Photo courtesy Lacombe County.
Lacombe County re-elects Paula Law as Reeve

This will be Law’s eighth term as Reeve and tenth year on the county council

Rieley Kay owns both Moe’s Pizza and Cilantro and Chive which are businesses located in downtown Lacombe. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)
City of Lacombe announces updated plans for downtown redevelopment

The plan would see $1.7 million spent on the downtown over the next 10 years

"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

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

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’

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

From l-r., first lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden on stage at the conclusion of the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Trump, Biden fight over the raging virus, climate and race

Republican president declared the virus, which killed more than 1,000 Americans on Thursday alone, will “go away.”

Most Read