When Vince Carter announced that he would retire at the end of the 2019-20 NBA season, he likely never imagined that might mean the middle of March. While nothing is certain yet, the spread of coronavirus through the NBA has made that a distinct possibility. The NBA suspended its season late Wednesday night after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert reportedly tested positive for the virus, and while the league hopes to resume play eventually, there is a legitimate chance that the season, and with it, Carter's career, is over.
If it is, though, Carter certainly made the most of his final night in the league. With mere seconds remaining in a game between the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks that had already been decided, the Hawks put Carter back into the game to get him one last shot. Sure enough, he nailed a 3-pointer.
Afterward, Carter was visibly emotional in discussing the potential end of his career.
"I'm not one for the whole thing anyway," Carter said. "So if you ask a lot of people around me, they'll tell you this. I'm appreciative, but I just do my time, walk out the door, it's okay with me, believe it or not. I'm cool. I just... the game's been good."
After the game, Carter also took to Twitter to reflect on the evening and to thank fans for their continued support over the course of his career.
"Such a weird night but I am truly thankful for each and every person during this 22 [year] journey," Carter wrote. "If this is really it, I thank everyone for your love and support for all these years."
Such a weird night but I am truly thankful for each and every person during this 22yr journey.— Vince Carter (@mrvincecarter15) March 12, 2020
If this is really it, I thank everyone for your love and support for all these years.
B E Z✌🏽
If this truly is the end of Carter's career, he is almost certainly headed to the Hall of Fame in a few years. The eight-time All-Star was one of the best players in the NBA at the turn of the century and managed to stick around for an NBA-record 22 total seasons. He will be remembered as the first Toronto Raptors superstar, one of the greatest dunkers in NBA history, and of course, one of the models of longevity in professional basketball.