When the 2019-20 NBA season came to a screeching halt on March 11, the Atlanta Hawks were in the middle of a game against the New York Knicks at State Farm Arena. Eventually, the Hawks lost the game in overtime — improving their draft lottery position in the process — but, aside from the focus on COVID-19 and the substantial fallout from the league’s stoppage, most of the additional attention was paid to Vince Carter.
The future Hall of Fame forward checked in and knocked down a three-pointer in the final seconds, with many speculating it could be the final shot of his 22-year career in the NBA.
With the NBA season suspended until further notice, Vince Carter checks in and drills a three in the final seconds. pic.twitter.com/XLW1t7uIjW— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 12, 2020
Carter repeatedly hinted at retirement, both before and during the 2019-20 season, and the wide assumption was that Carter’s career was over when the Hawks were excluded from the Orlando bubble. On Thursday, Carter spoke with Annie Finberg on the “Winging It” Podcast and officially announced that he is stepping away from the sport as a player.
“I’m officially finished playing basketball,” Carter said on the podcast. “I’m officially done playing basketball professionally.”
While the announcement came as no surprise, it is a moment of finality for Carter. Over the course of more than 70 minutes, Carter went into detail on his feelings and experiences during two decades in the NBA, and the full conversation is certainly worth a listen.
On Thursday morning, the Hawks also released an official statement on Carter’s retirement.
“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 statement reads. “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. It’s an honor to the Hawks organization that he completed his Hall-of-Fame career wearing Atlanta across his chest and representing our city.”
With eight All-Star appearances, more than 25,000 points scored and a substantial impact on the game, Carter leaves a tremendous legacy and he should soon be enshrined in Springfield as a result.