He played against the legendary Michael Jordan and made his debut when the iPhone was just a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye.
And on Sunday, against the Indiana Pacers, Vince Carter, 42, became the first NBA player to have a career spanning four decades.
The Atlanta Hawks star made his debut in the ’90s (1999 to be precise), and has starred in every decade since – the noughties, 2010s and now the 2020s.
To put it into further context, 36 current NBA players – including four of his team-mates (Bruno Fernando, Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish) – were born after Carter was first drafted.
“I’m just very thankful to still be around and competing at this level,” Carter told Yahoo Sports.
“I saw a picture of one of my team-mates by the name of Hakeem Olajuwon [who is now 56] and the other was Trae [Young, who is 21] and it’s just like, man, as much as I talk to people and handshake with former friends who are now general managers, coaches, whatever they are, I can say I played against Michael Jordan and stuff like that and now I’m playing against the Trae Youngs and all the stars of today.
“I’m probably more competitive now because I know the end is near. I never imagined playing this long.
“I got to 15 years and I still felt good and here I am seven years later. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
It’s not the first time Carter has made history.
In August, Carter became the first person to play 22nd NBA seasons after signing a one-year contract to return to the Hawks.
The decision meant he became the longest-tenured NBA player, surpassing the members of the 21-season club – Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Willis and Robert Parish.
Carter in stats
- Played more than 1,500 NBA games
- Eight-time NBA All-Star
- Olympic gold medallist (2000)
- NBA Rookie of the Year Award (1999)
- First 40-year old player to hit at least three 3-pointers in a playoff game: 3 (April 22, 2017 vs. San Antonio Spurs, Western Conference 1st round)
- Most three-point field goals made in one half: 8 (May 11, 2001 vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Eastern Conference semi-finals)