Carter told reporters it would be a “cool memory” to have, and described the experience as fans at the State Farm Arena began to chant his name with a few minutes remaining.
Carter told The Ringer he was on the bench as his name was being called.
“It seems like right after that moment, they started to chant again, and it got louder and louder, and I was like ‘Nah, I’m good,’” Carter said. “And I kind of made eye contact with Coach and he was like ‘Yeah.’ And right then, it’s like a chill just hit me like, ‘oh, shoot.’”
Carter was given an open three-pointer to end the game. He said he was being urged to dunk, but he had been sitting on the bench too long to try. Instead, Carter got the shot at the top of the arc.
“It’s one of those moments, people, if they think of a game-winning shot, you think sometimes you want to shoot the ball and you want it to be perfect,” he told The Ringer. “You want to have the perfect form, the perfect arc, the perfect follow-through, the whole nine. I’ve always been a guy where I believe, I’ve trusted all the work (I’ve put in) and I hadn’t been shooting the ball well in my opinion all year, but when it came down to a shot I needed to make, it was like second nature and I had done it before. So Trae [Young] throws the ball, I take my one-two step and just shoot it like I’d been playing the whole game.
“It’s giving me chills right now, actually. It was kind of a chilling moment to see it go in. Because at first I was like all right, the season’s going to [come] back. But at the same time, I was like, just in case it doesn’t, you might want to try and make this.”
If it was Carter’s final game, he will finish with an average of 16.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He started his career with the Toronto Raptors in 1998 and played for the New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and, finally, the Hawks.
He was an eight-time All-Star and ushered in a new era for the NBA slam dunk contest during All-Star Weekend. However, he never won an NBA championship.