All good things must come to an end. And so, after 22 seasons in the league, Vince Carter’s NBA career has reached its end. With as many years as he played, it felt as if he may be able to keep going forever. But alas, the journey has finally concluded for him.
While playing for the Raptors, Carter was among the best players in the NBA. It’s where he got his start, and for his first few seasons, he teamed up with his cousin, Tracy McGrady. The two formed quite the duo before McGrady’s career continued elsewhere.
Carter was the first Raptor great, playing there for much of their early years. After failing to even reach a conference finals, Toronto traded him to the Nets. They got a lot in return, but nothing to help them win. The trade to send him to the Nets was a move that nobody outside the general manager seemed to agree with.
He was the game’s best dunker and a walking bucket while playing in Canada. He had hoped to possibly return there to play one more season, but it just didn’t turn out that way.
As soon as he got to the Nets, Vince Carter was strictly business. He was an All-Star during his first two seasons and formed one of the best duos in the NBA with Jason Kidd. The All-Star backcourt was tough to stop for all teams, as they had a nice trio with Richard Jefferson added in.
But as good as Carter was, the team never had a good big man during the years, so they always struggled to defend the rim. It really is too bad that they couldn’t get Brook Lopez a few years earlier. If only he was younger.
Carter’s Nets won a few playoff series and did seriously challenge LeBron James and the Cavaliers. It was a fun era when he played there, and one Nets fans continue to look back at fondly.
Carter would play for six other teams over the course of the rest of his career. After his time with the Suns at the end of the 2010-11 season, he wouldn’t top the 30-point plateau again. He was a veteran leader and three-point specialist in Memphis and Dallas. And with the Hawks and Kings, he mostly mentored.
Carter was always good enough to get minutes, even into his 40s. But he wasn’t quite good enough to make a difference in the final score. What he continued to be good for, though, was a good dunk. At age 42, he was still throwing big ones down.
And he gave us all one final exciting moment during his time in Dallas. He sank a three from the corner at the buzzer to lift them to a playoff win over the Spurs. It is a shot that Mavs fans still love to talk about.
Farewell, Mr. Carter
The career of Carter provided endless memories. From his dunk on Frederic Weis to his 50-point nights. His dunk contest magic. Thanks for everything, Vince. The league will miss you! Maybe BIG3 next?
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