When Vince Carter took the floor for the Hawks on Saturday night against Indiana, the former All-Star made history not with one of his many, many highlights, but with a longevity that stretches across four different decades of NBA history.
Michael Jordan was the reigning league MVP when Carter, another 6-foot-6 guard out of North Carolina, was taken fifth in the 1998 Draft. Tim Duncan had just won the Rookie of the Year award while leading the Spurs to the first of 22 consecutive playoff appearances (and counting). Shaq and Kobe were still two years away from their first championship. LeBron James was about to enter eighth grade. Luka Doncic was not yet born.
Carter has worn an NBA jersey through — and beyond — all those events while becoming one of, if not the, best dunkers in NBA history. Eight All-Star appearances, two All-NBA honors, an Olympic gold medal and countless posters highlight his resumé. Known as “Air Canada”, “Half-Man/Half-Amazing” or “Vinsanity” in Toronto and New Jersey, Carter began taking on a reserve and leadership role later in his career.
Now, with more than 25,000 points to his name (20th all-time), Carter is making his final NBA lap. Having announced this season will be his last, Carter is chipping in a final on-court contribution to be claimed by the ’90s.
Luckily, there’s plenty to remember him by, most of it well beyond half-amazing.