Retirement didn’t last long for Vince Carter. Announcing earlier this week, the former Tar Heel will be joining ESPN as a full-time NBA analyst.
The eight-time All-Star is the only player in the NBA to play 22 years in four different decades; During that time, Carter has been a mentor and leading example to countless NBA players. Hailing from Daytona Beach, Florida, Carter has been playing basketball all his life. From McDonald’s All American, back-to-back Final Four appearances at UNC, and a continuous highlight reel of an NBA star, Carter’s career exemplifies the career any professional basketball player would love to have.
Carter’s time at UNC was legendary for his dunks, and he played alongside players such as Antwan Jamison, Shammond Williams, and Ed Cota. During his time at Carolina, UNC was ACC title Champions and made appearances in the Final four. He was honored with First Team All-ACC and second-team All-American in 1998.
His time as an NBA player spans across his prolific drafting to the Toronto Raptors; the Raptors selected Carter 5th in the 1998 NBA Draft. In his interview, Carter talks explicitly about the 2001 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, and during that time, he decided to walk with his graduating class at UNC. The decision was highly criticized, but Carter made a promise to his mother to receive his degree after leaving his Junior year at Carolina. The commitment was vital for him to keep.
When Carter entered the NBA in 1998, it was during a lockout. He acknowledged how his career came full circle, ending just how it began.
“I came into the league on a shortened season, and I walk away from the league on a shortened season.”
But it ended in true Carter fashion, a three-pointer made against the Knicks… in overtime March 11.
“Making my last shot helped the situation. If I didn’t make my last shot, it would have been a little different.”
Carter has played for the New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, and his final resting place, the Atlanta Haws. Overall, he averaged 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game during his career.
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