After 22 years, Vince Carter finally retired from the NBA. In his two-plus decades in the league, he carved out a reputation as one of the most dynamic dunkers of all time. Along the way, he earned massive paydays from the Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, and several other franchises. Yet, he walks away from the game with a glaring hole on his resume.
Vince Carter’s journey to NBA stardom
Coming out of the University of North Carolina, everyone expected Vince Carter to become the NBA’s next star. He not only managed to meet expectations but also shatter them.
As the face of the Raptors, he wasted little time showcasing his rare athleticism and scoring ability. Carter earned his first of eight consecutive NBA All-Star selections in just his second season. The rising star earned a spot on the 2000 U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team that absolutely throttled the competition.
In his prime, Carter not only threw down vicious dunks but he also proved to be a top-flight scorer. He hit 38.3 percent of his 3-pointers in seven seasons in Toronto. Carter earned two All-Star selections with the Nets and helped the team advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in consecutive years.
Incredibly, he played another decade in the NBA as a critical role player. Though his days as a superstar had long passed, Carter still averaged double-digit scoring for the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and Dallas Mavericks.
The dynamic dunker earned $172 million in his 22-year career
Playing in the NBA for 22 years will make you a rich man. And in the case of Vince Carter, he certainly broke the bank thanks in large part to his awe-inspiring dunks. According to Spotrac, he earned $172 million in his NBA career. His rookie deal totaled just $6.45 million over three years.
However, he scored his first major payday prior to the 2001-02 season. Carter inked a massive six-year, $85 million contract extension that put him amongst the league’s highest-paid players.
Though he didn’t finish out that contract in Toronto, Carter’s high-level play led New Jersey to give him a lucrative deal. In 2007, the Nets signed their top star to a four-year, $61.6 million contract. Of course, Carter got traded less than two years later.
His highest single-season earnings came in 2010-11 when the Suns paid Carter $17.5 million. He made a fraction of that in his final NBA season. This year, he earned just over $2.5 million from the Atlanta Hawks. Despite his $172 million career earnings, there’s still one major hole in Carter’s Hall of Fame resume.
Carter has a glaring hole on his Hall of Fame resume
On paper, Vince Carter boasts a Hall of Fame resume. On one hand, he became the only NBA player to suit up in four different decades. Vinsanity won the 1999 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, put on the most incredible Slam Dunk Contest performance of all time, and performed at an elite level for almost a decade.
However, now that he’s officially retired, Carter does have a huge hole in his legacy. Despite playing for a league-record 22 years, he never won a single NBA title. The eight-time All-Star made the postseason 11 times but never advanced to the NBA Finals. In fact, Carter’s teams bowed out of the playoffs in the first round six times.
Ultimately, his lack of a championship ring certainly deserves some attention when discussing his Hall of Fame candidacy. Carter failed to lead both the Raptors and Nets deep into the playoffs. Does that mean he doesn’t deserve a spot amongst the league’s all-time greats? That question will be answered one day when Vince Carter comes up for election.