The 2019-20 NBA seasonafter all, as team owners voted 29-1 on Thursday afternoon approving a proposal to play out the remainder of the season at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The league is targeting a start date of July 31, and will bring 22 teams to Orlando to crown a champion. The plan is for all teams to play eight regular season games, as well as a potential play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed in each conference.
With the official statement from the NBA, that means that the season is over for eight teams in the league, including the Atlanta Hawks who were 11 games out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference before the hiatus. With the Hawks staying at home, that means that Vince Carter's 22-year career has officially come to a close. Carter before the season started, and made a point to say that he didn't want any sendoff tours or closing ceremonies like Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki received at the end of last season.
While he didn't want any of the pomp and circumstance, Carter's career ending abruptly due to a pandemic New York Knicks, where he played 12 minutes and put up five points to go along with a single rebound. His came off an assist from Trae Young for a 3-point shot, with teammates and fans cheering him on.of properly honoring him in his final game. Instead, Carter's final game was a loss against the
After the game, Carter reflected on what is now officially his final game, with a sense of acceptance and calmness, despite the unknown state the league was about to enter back in March.
"It's a weird way to say I'm calling it a career," Carter said. "You're used to not having any more games left, instead I technically have 15 games left, but if not, I'm one with it. It's just weird, as we were getting briefed on everything and what's going on, I was just sitting there like 'all right this is it, just like that.'"
During that press conference, Carter also mentioned how Kobe Bryant helped him come around to the idea of retiring before the Lakers legend died in a tragic helicopter crash in January.
"I went from the hesitation of starting the season and going through it, to not really saying the word retirement," Carter said. "To having a conversation with Kobe which gave me the confidence and comfort to talk about retirement, to this point where the season's over and in my mind I know there's 15 games left but we're not sure yet, but it's cool though. Basketball's been good to me. I've enjoyed each and every moment of it, good and bad so if this is it it's all good, at least I made my last basket."
Over Carter's career, he made eight All-Star games, won Rookie of the Year in 1999, and carried the Toronto Raptors to their first franchise playoff appearance. He's a beloved figure in the basketball world for his ferocious dunks throughout his career, most notable among them was his 2000 Slam Dunk Contest performance which is still considered the greatest in NBA history.
Now that Carter's career is officially in the books, the next stop is enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He's got the resume to back it, as one of the most electrifying players of the past two decades. He never won a title or MVP, but his brilliance scoring on offense, and his ability to change with the game and become a 3-point specialist later in his career afforded him the ability to play in the NBA for a record-breaking 22 seasons.
It might not be the ending anyone expected for Carter's career, but there are enough memories over 22 years to remind us of the exciting player he was.