Vince Carter Will Be First in NBA History to Play in 4 Different Decades

There was a time when Vince Carter was one of the NBA’s brightest stars: an athletic wingman who could pull off acrobatic dunks to wow fans. These days, he amazes fans with his incredible longevity, settling in as the NBA’s elder statesman for his 22nd season in the league. It looks like Vince Carter will become the first player in NBA history to play in four different decades. How did he get here? 

Vince Carter’s career achievements

Golden State selected Carter with the fifth overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. Then the Warriors traded him to the Toronto Raptors for his college teammate, Antawn Jamison. Carter went on to win NBA Rookie of the Year during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season. 

The 42-year-old is still going strong in 2019. Here are just a few of the accomplishments he’s amassed over his 21 NBA seasons:

  • 25,430 points total
  • 17.2 points per game (career average)
  • 4,666 assists
  • 6,482 rebounds
  • Eight-time All-Star
  • Two-time All-NBA 
  • Appeared in the playoffs 11 times

One of Carter’s seminal moments of his career was at the 2000 All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest. In the star-making moment, he won the event with some of the most creative dunks fans had ever seen.

Carter’s dynamic resume

Carter spent his first six seasons in Toronto, where he initially teamed up with cousin Tracy McGrady. While the Raptors made a few playoff appearances, he never quite got them to a championship. With 20 games in the 2004-05 season, Carter forced his way out of Toronto to the New Jersey Nets, where he joined Jason Kidd.

After five seasons in New Jersey and still no titles, he headed to Orlando for the 2009-10 season. The next season they traded him to Phoenix. Then, he went to Dallas for three seasons, Memphis for three more, then Sacramento and Atlanta for a season each. Currently, “Vinsanity” has re-signed with Atlanta for his 22nd season.

Carter’s prime seasons occurred in Toronto and New Jersey. By the time he got to Orlando, he was no longer a superstar scorer. Carter hasn’t averaged over 20 points a game since the 2008-09 season with the Nets. He hasn’t averaged double figures since the 2013-14 season in Dallas. 

Carter’s future in the NBA

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Carter played in the ’90s, 2000s, 2010s, and he will play in the 2020s — if he can remain healthy this season. This will make him the first NBA player to play in four different decades. How has he managed to produce this staying power? One way involves his acceptance of a diminished role. For a player once villainized in Toronto for being selfish, Carter has tucked away his ego to remain in the NBA.

Statistically speaking, you can expect single-digit scoring from Carter this season. However, he can also serve as a great example for players like Carmelo Anthony. The 35-year-old is having trouble adjusting to life after NBA stardom. If Anthony can accept a lesser role the way Carter did, he could add several seasons to his career.