Vince Carter is still not going away. Despite there being few (if any) reasons for Vinsanity to bust his ass in the NBA for any kind of lottery-level squad, the 41-year-old has signed a new contract to play his 21st NBA season with the lowly, rebuilding Atlanta Hawks. When they suit up for 2018-19, he and Dirk Nowitzki will tie Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, and Kevin Garnett for the most NBA seasons played ever.
It’s not even so much astounding that Carter has stayed in the NBA long enough to have played with both Charles Oakley (born 1963) and now Trae Young (1998)—we’re used to his longevity by now. It’s mainly just incredible that this specific old-man version of Carter, who’s so far removed from the athletic god embedded in our memories, has been around to marvel at since at least 2014. Carter’s continued stints with teams like the Grizzlies, the Kings, and now the Hawks—not as a glorified assistant coach, but a guy who gets real minutes—are the actions of a man who just must love playing basketball.
It’s been at least five years since Carter was on any kind of relevant potential title contender (the defending champion Mavs in 2012). And at the veteran’s minimum, Carter’s latest contract is hopefully no more than just unnecessary loose change in his bank account. Still, VC keeps on playing, surviving in a cutthroat sport that is absolute long-term hell on your knees. Even Jaromir Jagr got to play with blades on his feet.