If you watched Vince Carter play during his mid-career days on teams like the New Jersey Nets, you never would have guessed he'd morph into one of the NBA's most beloved veteran leaders. Vinsanity wasn't exactly playing two-way basketball, and he looked headed for an inglorious exit during his mid-30s.
But Carter reinvented himself as reliable role player in his later days, and his 2017 season with the Memphis Grizzlies was the best and biggest part he has played in years. And now he's prepared to play another couple seasons, if you believe what he told the folks at Real GM:
I said to myself 'I want to play 15 years'. I don't know where I got that from. And the I got to 15 years and I kept going. I never capped it, but at the same time I've had a lot of players remind me of things I've said. I'm still saying 'two more years and I'm done.'
I sit here today and I think of when I was younger, at that 25 and the season was over, I felt awful. I could play three more rounds of basketball right now.
It's a lot easier to say he's ready to play another two years than to play them—the human body has its limits—but if Carter is indeed able to suit up for another two full seasons, he'll be able to finish his career as one of the five oldest players to ever suit up at the NBA level. Carter is already in the top-20 if he retired today, and he would pass the likes of Steve Nash, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar if he was able to tough it out for two more seasons.
Carter doesn't appear ready to just join any old team in his final years, and based on what he told reporters in Memphis after the end of this season, he's hoping to stick around as part of the Grit-and-Grind crew until he hangs up his sneakers.
“I hear people say all the time, 'Go chase the ring.' That word 'chase’ is tough for me,” said Carter. “I’m comfortable here, my family is comfortable here, we’re building something exciting and great and I enjoy going to work with these guys every day.”
Kudos to Carter if he's able to outlast Father Time and run up his season total to 21. He has been a man of many roles over the last two decades, from precocious star to a veteran mentor, and he may just have a few memorable moments left to punctuate his career.
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