NBA star Vince Carter officially retired from the sport Thursday after playing for 22 years on multiple teams in his career. He was known for being one of the NBA’s best dunkers, including several acrobatic finishes during the 2000 dunk contest and a slam over a 7-foot French player in the Olympics.
The 43-year-old made the announcement of his retiring official during an episode of the Ringer’s “Winging It With Vince Carter” podcast. “I’m officially done playing basketball professionally,” he said.
After his former team, the Atlanta Hawks, weren’t invited to join in the NBA’s restart of the season, Carter explained that he accepted that it was the end of his playing days as a pro. He was drafted into the league during a shortened season in 1998 and his career finish came to a full circle of sorts.
“It wasn’t a painful blow hearing it or reading it or talking about it, I kinda was already there,” he said. “It’s kind of a cool situation for me because I came into the league on shortened season, and I walk away from the league in a shortened season. For me, it was just kind of unique situation.”
Carter sank his last shot, a 3-pointer against the New York Knicks, on March 11, which made it easier for him to move on, he said. Before the season was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, Carter had said it would be his final year of basketball.
Carter was revered for his incredible dunking ability. His electrifying performance during the 2000 Slam Dunk contest was widely considered to be the best performance by a player, ever.
Months later, as a member of Team USA, Carter also famously dunked over Frédéric Weis, a 7-foot 2-inch player with the French National Team, during a game against France in the 2000 Olympics. He also won a gold medal that summer.
Among his other playing accolades, “Vinsanity” was an eight-time NBA all-star and NBA rookie of the year. In his later years, he served in a mentorship role for younger players. He played for the Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings Memphis Grizzlies and Hawks.
The Hawks said in a statement that it was an “honor” to have him complete his career with an Atlanta jersey.
“Over the last two years, Vince Carter has been a committed leader, respected mentor and influential example on the court, in the locker room and in the Atlanta community,” the organization said. “Throughout his historic 22-year journey covering an unprecedented four different decades, his evolving career arc was perhaps like none other in league history – from Top 5 Draft Pick to Rookie of the Year to Slam Dunk Champion to superstar and eight-time All-Star to Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year and valuable role player.”