When the NBA suspended its season on March 11, Hawks wing Vince Carter recognized immediately that he may have made his last appearance as an NBA player that night, discussing the possibility after the game.
Six weeks later, we don’t have much further clarity on whether or not Carter will get a chance to suit up again for the Hawks this summer before he calls it a career. However, speaking to Chris Mannix of SI.com, Carter said he wouldn’t be upset if that March 11 contest ends up being his farewell from the NBA. He checked into that game vs. New York with 19 seconds left in overtime – after the news of Rudy Gobert‘s positive coronavirus test and the suspension of the season had broken – and knocked down the game’s final shot, a three-pointer.
“I ended on a pretty cool note,” Carter said.
The Hawks’ original schedule called for a home finale in Atlanta on April 15, the last day of the regular season. On April 10, the team had been scheduled to play in Toronto, where Carter started his NBA career in 1998 and blossomed into a star. While the 43-year-old admits it “would have been nice” to face the Raptors in Toronto one last time, he insists he’s “good with it” if that game doesn’t end up happening, Mannix writes.
Carter also explained why he has been happy to spend the final few seasons of a decorated 22-year NBA career playing for lottery teams in Sacramento and Atlanta.
“I had some (contenders) that were offering the opportunities,” Carter said, per Mannix. “They were saying, ‘We can’t guarantee (minutes).’ And I don’t expect anyone to guarantee me minutes. But to say, ‘We don’t think there’s any minutes, but you would help our team as far as just wisdom.’ That’s something I didn’t want to do. I just wanted to play. I could lend my wisdom and be an unbelievable mentor for a guy. But sometimes showing is better than telling.”
As for whether Carter has had any second thoughts about retiring at season’s end, Mannix writes that some doubt crept in for the eight-time All-Star during the first couple months of the season, but his concerns were assuaged by longtime NBA stars Dirk Nowitzki and the late Kobe Bryant, who told him he’d enjoy retirement.
“It was reassuring,” Carter told Mannix. “Comforting. Those are the guys that I wanted to talk to and hear from.”