Although all eyes in the basketball world can currently be trained to a potential start date for this season’s post-season or the start of 2020-2021, Vince Carter says he has almost moved on.
With NBA season suspended following COVID-19 pandemic, along with the rest of the sports world, former Raptors icon played what could very well be the last game of his 22-year career on March 11 – the day on which the suspension of the association took effect. And although it remains to be seen if part of the regular season will still be played if the 2019-20 campaign resumes, Carter said he was at peace with the way his career ended if it was not the case.
“In my mind, I’m nearing the end of the season,” he told co-host Annie Finberg on the duo’s podcast, Winging it, for The Ringer. The 43-year-old said last year that the 2019-20 campaign will be his last in the NBA.
If that is the case, then Carter will have come out the same way he played most of his long career: brilliantly.
In the final moments of this likely final, a 136-131 defeat to the Knicks, Carter concluded with a memorable final display, recording and draining a three in the final seconds of overtime:
With the NBA season suspended until further notice, Vince Carter registers and drains the final seconds of OT.
– Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 12, 2020
He explained to Finberg how this surreal game went, from the discovery of Rudy Gobert’s positive test result in the middle of the game to the recording of this decisive (likely) bucket.
“Just before I started the third quarter, the coach came up to me and said, ‘Have you heard of Rudy Gobert? “I was like, ‘No, I was shooting then how would I do it? “” Remembers Carter. “And it sort of tells us, the next thing you know, whispers are starting to happen on the bench – as soon as I heard that, I thought,” They’re definitely stopping the season right now. “”
“… I didn’t really think it would be my last game or something like that until our great friend Dewayne Dedmon launched it. He was like, “Dude, this could be your last – maybe they could stop the game or end the season here. “
“I was like, ‘It would be crazy,’ and it was. And then all of a sudden you start to hear chants, because I guess it touched everyone. … And DeAndre ’Bembry jokes, it’s like pushing me onto the field, I’m like,‘ Nah chill, how good I’m, and then it seems like right after that they started singing again. And it got stronger and stronger. … I sort of made eye contact with the coach, and he said, “Yeah.” And there, it’s as if a shiver had just hit me. “
While his teammates were calling for a dunk, Carter joked that he was sitting on the bench too long to attempt a jam. He shattered what he thought by winning these last three games in those last moments on the field, potentially the last for one of the best in NBA history.
“Everyone was happy to see him come in, I was just glad I could get the ball there. It’s just mind on matter at the time, “he said with a laugh. “… If you think of a winning shot, you sometimes think you want to shoot the ball and you want to be perfect – you want to have the perfect shape, the perfect arc, perfect follow-up, the nine. I was always a guy who said to me “I think”. I trust all the work, and I have drawn the ball well, in my opinion, all year round. But when it was a shot I had to make, it was like second nature, and I have already done it.
“So Trae (Young) throws the ball, I take a step in two and I shoot just like I played the whole game. It gives me chills right now, actually. … It was fun. I was glad it came in, so it’s just something I will always remember. “
So far, there is no indication whether the 2019-2020 regular season will resume or not, although the timing of any potential returns suggests that the league would likely choose to move directly to the post-season – a recovery that does not would not include the Atlanta Carter Hawks, which are next to last in the East.
Either way, he said, it goes well with the way things ended.
“If it was the last game, it was the last shot, I made my last shot, and I’m cool with that,” said Carter. “I feel good in my career and how it ended. Otherwise, and the season continues, it continues. “
The Daytona Beach, Florida native said the prospect of spending more time with his kids and sharing his love of basketball with them was a key benefit of getting away from the NBA – “My little guy, I shoot basketball all day anyway in the yard with him. I’m on the phone with my daughter, we’re talking about basketball, we’re talking about life and all that. – and added that his love of golf made the transition from the game he played all his life easier.
“I have something I like, I have something that challenges me. Even with all that, I can go on the course and work on it, and still be in competition mode with myself and get better.
“So I think it helped get out of the game or out of the game, no matter what’s going on right now. This eases the transition. “