Vince Carter Announces Retirement
In some parts of the sports world, guys retire only to return and continue playing. While that may seem comical, especially in the world of professional wrestling, where guys “retire” multiple times only to come back to compete at the next big event, it does happen in the world of professional sports. Ask Michael Jordan, who retired after three straight titles with the Bulls to try playing minor league baseball. He returned after nearly two seasons and went on to win three more titles before retiring a second time. Again, that didn’t take as he came back after three years of being out of the league to spend a pair of seasons with the Wizards before hanging them up for a third and final time at the end of the 2002-03 season.
On the flip side of that coin, you have the guys that realize they’ve reached the end of the road and make their announcement of retirement before stepping out of the limelight. That’s what Vince Carter did, announcing that his career is over after 22 years with eight teams spanning two countries and 1,541 regular season games. He made his thought process clear on a podcast called “Winging It With Vince Carter” by stating: "I'm officially done playing basketball professionally. I'll play at home."
Carter had a prolific career that began after he was the fifth overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in the 1998-99 season and earned his first All-Star Game selection in 1999-00. That was the first of eight straight All-Star Game selections for Carter in his career through the 2006-07 campaign. He was traded by Toronto to New Jersey in the 2004-05 season and spent time with Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento and the last two seasons in Atlanta. After signing a one-year deal last offseason with the Hawks, Carter said that the 2019-20 campaign was the end of the line. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, that ending came a bit abruptly and sooner than anticipated but it seemed to work out for him. He said about the sudden ending of the season:
"If there was any disappointment because of the season -- any of that -- it was kind of easier to put it aside and handle it that way. It's like, OK, it's something bigger than my career. ... It's unfortunate, but with the coronavirus taking people's lives rapidly, that's the big picture in my mind. So I was able to put the weird ending -- the abrupt stoppage of play, to an ending -- aside for the bigger picture."
Carter finishes his career having averaged 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and one steal per game. He shot 43.5 percent from the field, including 37.1 percent from three-point range, and connected on a solid 79.8 percent of his attempts at the free throw line. His top season for scoring average came in the 2000-01 campaign when he finished fifth in the league with an average of 27.6 points per contest. He finished in the top 10 in scoring six times while being named to the All-NBA second team once and the All-NBA Third Team once in his career. Carter retires as the 19th-leading scorer in NBA history with 25,728 points.
Congratulations to Carter on a lengthy, productive career, both as a starter and a key contributor off the bench. His talent and production went far beyond the dunks that he threw down to win the Slam Dunk contest in 2000. We wish him well in his retirement and thank him for the memories and excitement he brought to the floor during his career.