The NBA is set for a restart in Orlando next month, but one of the league’s most iconic figures won’t be returning to the hardwood – for the remainder of this season and beyond.
— NBA (@NBA) June 25, 2020
After 22 seasons and enough highlights to last a lifetime, NBA legend Vince Carter – also know as Air Canada, Vinsanity, and Half-Man-Half-Amazing – is calling it a career.
He made his decision officially official on The Ringer’s ‘Winging It’ podcast on Wednesday morning.
“I’m officially finished playing basketball.”
After 22 years, Vince Carter has announced his retirement.
— #ThankYouVince (@ringernba) June 25, 2020
Carter spent the last two seasons of his career as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, serving as the elder statesman of a team full of promising young players such as All-Star point guard Trae Young and lottery picks John Collins, Cam Reddish, and Deandre Hunter.
The Hawks released an official statement on Thursday thanking Carter for his time with the franchise.
Hawks statement on Vince Carter’s retirement pic.twitter.com/b6Hw0Kqghu
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 25, 2020
But it was during his time as a Raptor that he made his greatest impact on the league.
Drafted with the 5th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, Carter immediately turned the Toronto franchise into must-see tv, winning Rookie of the Year and displaying an otherworldly athleticism that he’d become known for.
Over the course of his six full seasons in Toronto, Carter was a 5-time All-Star, while also leading the Raptors to their first playoff appearance in franchise history in 2001.
His career accolades include 8 NBA All-Star Game appearances and 2 All-NBA selections. He is 6th all-time in made three-pointers (2,290) in NBA history and his 25,728 career points rank 19th in league history.
From 1998 to 2019, Vince Carter’s best dunk from each season!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 25, 2020
But Carter’s most iconic moments might have come outside of the regular NBA season.
His performance in the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest stands as arguably one of the most legendary nights in sports history.
Carter detailed his performance in an oral history of the dunk contest for ESPN, explaining how he barely practiced any of the dunks from that night.
“The only time I remember practicing was in San Antonio. We were on the road in San Antonio at their facility. We were fooling around, just whatever. It was probably a week or two [before the dunk contest]. I mean, it was close, for sure. So I was just toying around with some stuff and just seeing if I could do it, how I felt about it and how they reacted to it. That was kind of my practice time. Every now and then after practice I’d do a few just to fool around when everybody’s leaving and then leave it alone. It wasn’t, ‘I spent 30 minutes a day trying.’ You just didn’t have that time.”
And then there were the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, where Carter pulled off what just might be the best dunk ever executed in a game, leaping over France’s 7’2″ center Frederic Weis.
THE GREATEST DUNK EVER… pic.twitter.com/9kq95yunoO
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 25, 2020
Carter’s career is one of a kind, spanning across the 90s, 2000s, 2010s, and now, the 2020s.
The only player to have ever played in four different decades.
Salute to Vince Carter on a legendary career. pic.twitter.com/hGI8fYOANK
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) June 25, 2020
Now that Carter is walking away from the game for good, NBA players, franchises and beyond paid their respects to Half-Man-Half-Amazing.
A career for the ages. Happy retirement, Vince 🙌 pic.twitter.com/Lxm87d9AXU
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) June 25, 2020
22 Years of Greatness
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 25, 2020
2-time NBA MVP Steve Nash
Inspired so many Canadian kids! Pre VC a couple Canadians in the NBA and this year up to 20 were on NBA rosters. Thank you VC! ❤️ https://t.co/PmtbAj8Cr5
— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) June 25, 2020
Today we salute the career of a legend.
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) June 25, 2020
🔹Mr. Vince Carter 🔹 pic.twitter.com/Khc1OPoCqP
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) June 25, 2020
Retired NBA guard Jameer Nelson
— Jameer Nelson (@jameernelson) June 25, 2020
Congratulations on an unforgettable career, @mrvincecarter15!
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) June 25, 2020
The Players’ Tribune
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) June 25, 2020
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) June 25, 2020
Forever a legend.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 25, 2020
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) June 25, 2020
Los Angeles Clippers
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 25, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) June 25, 2020
Nothing but respect for a legendary career. 👏
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) June 25, 2020
Golden State Warriors
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 25, 2020
Congrats on a Hall-of-Fame career, Vinsanity!
Thank you for all you did for the game of basketball! pic.twitter.com/akUChVdO9R
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 25, 2020
Congratulations to @mrvincecarter15 on an unforgettable career!
Thank you for all the memories. pic.twitter.com/15iosh3ocH
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 25, 2020
New Orleans Pelicans
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) June 25, 2020
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) June 25, 2020
New York Knicks
Congrats on the amazing career, @mrvincecarter15.
Thank you for the memories and Happy Retirement! pic.twitter.com/pRhEkhPSBv
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) June 25, 2020
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) June 25, 2020
Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum
— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) June 25, 2020
New Orleans Pelicans center Derrick Favors
— Derrick Favors (@dfavors14) June 25, 2020
Miami Heat forward Jae Crowder
THANK YOU @mrvincecarter15 .! ILL BE FOREVER THANKFUL FOR YOU TAKING ROOKIE JC UNDER YOUR WINGS AND HELPING MOLD ME INTO THE PRO I AM TODAY! ENJOY THE HALL OF FAME LEGEND IT WAS ONE HELLUAVA RIDE GLAD TO SHARE SOME MEMORIES WITH YOU.! -99
— JAE CROWDER (@CJC9BOSS) June 25, 2020