As Vince Carter enters his 22nd and final season in the NBA, he is a player who many rookies have grown up watching. After all, his first NBA game was before many of these players were even born. As such, his longevity combined with his status as a journeyman veteran in the NBA has made him a commodity not only for his teammates but his opponents.
Because of his status, several incoming rookies have spoken out about their desire to speak with Carter and pick his brain before he leaves. Boston Celtics rookie Grant Williams is the latest to speak about the NBA legend’s impact on his game.
As is the case with many young players, Grant Williams wasn’t born when Carter stepped into the pro basketball spotlight. Because of this, Carter has literally been a part of Williams’s entire life in basketball. Williams spoke about this with Anthony Olivieri of ESPN The Magazine.
“In 2000, I turned 2 years old [on Nov. 30],” Williams said. “Hopefully, I get to meet him and have a conversation. I’ve heard he’s an amazing guy. Just to pick his brain about how he stayed in the league so long — that’s something that I want to be able to do.”
Williams’ hopes make sense. Carter’s last two seasons have been filled with stories of him working with the league’s next generation, so even those who haven’t been his teammates have a reason to want to speak with him.
Williams is of similar size to Carter, although his build is bigger. He averaged nearly 19 points per game during his college career to go with seven rebounds and three assists. If he can develop a consistent jumper to go with his other skills, Carter could be a good template for him to work off of.
Vince Carter has been something of a veteran leader for locker rooms since he signed as a role player in Dallas. These last two years, however, he has worn this role on his sleeve. His lone season in Sacramento had him working with players like De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Bogdan Bogdanovic. Although Carter’s impact in-game was limited, his work with the players did not go unnoticed.
It makes sense, then, that the young Atlanta Hawks would call upon his services next. They have a young star in Trae Young and another up-and-comer in John Collins. Combine that with the addition this offseason of De’Andre Hunter, and the Hawks will have another year of Carter’s veteran leadership on their team.
“He stayed in the league so long…”
Carter’s 22nd NBA season will mean that he has played in four separate decades in the NBA. Young players would be smart to get the advice from him coming into the league so that they can try to milk their careers for as long as possible. There is a reason that while some former superstars burn out of the league before they are ready, Carter can get a job in his 40s. He has learned to adjust with the times.
Grant Williams will not have his youthful vigor, athleticism, and speed for 20 years, but if he learns what Carter did to prepare his body for aging, he might be able to play for many years. In the same conference as Carter, he may get more chances than the rookies out West to pick Carter’s brain.
Williams and Carter will only have a brief time to cross paths, but if he talks to Carter, the advice could help him for years to come.