Rev those engines up ladies and gentlemen. Vinsanity is still alive and well.
You would think that when you are 41 years old, scored 25,000 points, played in the NBA for 21 seasons, and a future hall of famer, that winning a championship would be the main priority now. But that’s not the case for Vince Carter. Carter just wants to have fun with the game he has played his whole life.
Why would Vince want to play for a contender and get almost zero play time at this point in his career, when he could play 20 minutes a game with one of the youngest and most exciting teams in the league? That was the thought process that Carter took to free agency before he signed with the Atlanta Hawks on a one-year contract in June.
It’s no secret that Carter will be a hall of famer one day, and may go down as one of the most prolific dunkers of all time. Nobody will ever forget the all-star game in 2000 when the roof came off Oracle Arena when Vince Carter shook the NBA world with dunks that may never be replicated again in the dunk contest.
But, in a year where the Hawks are just 9-23 a quarter into the season, Carter may be having the most fun he has ever had. Averaging 7.3 PPG may not be glamorous on paper, but for a 41 year-old legend coming off the bench, he has been one of the biggest contributors for the Hawks all season by his presence both on and off the court.
Vince at this point in his career may throw in a vintage 20-point game with some highlight dunks every now and then, but his role as a mentor to a team that needs leadership the most has been huge for first-year head coach Lloyd Pierce.
Carter has been a leader for every team he has been on, but the advice he’s able to give young impact players like Trae Young and John Collins every day has been more valuable than anyone in that front office could have imagined when signing Carter to that one-year contract.
The narrative when Carter retires one day may include how Vince could never find a true home in the NBA, always jumping around from team-to-team. But, the narrative should be how Vince is the ultimate professional that transformed the game of basketball in a way that many have never seen prior to his entrance to the league.
Will Vince return for another year after this season? Who knows. But, enjoy Vinsanity while you still can, because the old man still has plenty of good games left in him.
-Allen Perez (Senior at Kennesaw State University, Sports Director of KSU Owl Radio, radio play-by-play announcer for Kennesaw State Men’s basketball and sports talk show host) (Twitter: @therealATLfan, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)