Once a playoff hero in Dallas, Vince Carter is still going strong in Memphis towards the end of his career. But how much does he have left in the tank?
In my world, there has been no better signing in the history of basketball. The moment your favorite basketball player of all-time, Vince Carter, signs with your favorite NBA franchise, the Dallas Mavericks.
It was a dream come true in my household back in 2011.
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Growing up a die-hard North Carolina fan in central Kentucky, I had my work cut out for me in the sea of Kentucky blue. Friends didn’t understand as I always rocked a lighter shade of blue in school with a footprint logo instead of a wildcat. Michael Jordan and my dad was to thank for that.
For all of my dad’s life up until this moment, NBA was his thing. We watched every all-star weekend, traveled hours to different arenas, and bought all kinds of jerseys ever chance we got, but nothing compared to his love for Michael Jordan. We had the jerseys. We had the figurines. But more impressively, we have the majority of every televised Chicago Bulls game in the 90’s taped on VCR tucked away in multiple storage containers (hundreds of games).
So growing up, I would always see old footage of Jordan in this light blue Carolina jersey and it was love at first sight.
Then came Vince Carter.
Since Jordan was in my younger years, Vince Carter was my first real love of basketball. He had the swagger and highlight plays, but most of all, he was a North Carolina Tar Heel. I would rock his old school Raptors jersey on the playground and try to imitate his dunk contest in 2000. I had a Carter/New Jersey fathead in my room in the early 00’s and rooted for him hard when he returned home to Florida to play for Orlando.
Then heaven came down to Earth and he signed with the Dallas Mavericks…MY TEAM (since we all call our favorite team “my”).
From his high-flying dunks to his instant spark off the bench, Carter instantly fit in Dallas. Number 25 had his share of memories in Dallas, but nothing compares to the time he brought the house down as he sunk a corner buzzer-beater in the playoffs…
Now, a couple of years later, Carter finds himself in Memphis where he still gives the Grizzlies a spark off the bench and leadership presence on the roster.
This past week, ESPN asked Carter about what drives him to keep playing in the league.
“I just love to play. It’s not out of me yet. When I don’t want to play and don’t want to put the work in, that’s when I step away from the game, but right now I still love it.”
But when the topic of retirement came up, Carter responded with…
“Not right now, we know No. 19 is definitely going to go down. I’m shooting for 20, and we’ll go from there after that.”
Last year, at the age of 39, Carter still averaged over 16 minutes a game off the bench in Memphis. Although he isn’t what he used to be athletically, he still provides useful veteran minutes on a playoff team.
He’s only under contract for one more year in Memphis in what would be his 19th season. If he does play 20 seasons, where could he end up for potentially his last year?
The selfishness inside of me wants him back in Dallas, but how cool would it be to see Carter return to Toronto for his 20th a final season?