Vince Carter recently committed to his 21st season in the NBA when he signed for the Atlanta Hawks. The eight-time All-Star is 41, but his love for the game is showing no sign of waning.
Franchise Sports were invited to a global conference call with the future Hall of Famer last week. Our writer Greg Forbes dialled in, as media took the opportunity to chat with Carter about his career, broadcasting and the Jr. NBA World Championship that he will be analysing for Fox Sports.
Doug Smith of the Toronto Star asked Carter about ring chasing, and why he’s not prioritised winning a championship in the latter years of his career.
“It just feels right for me, it’s easy to go and play for a team and sit on the bench and not get a lot of minutes. I probably could have done that, anyway. I still wanna play the game, whatever minutes are there I want them. I’ll do that for any team, that’s not a question.
I come from an era when that’s how it was, it’s still instilled in me. I don’t have any problem with how it’s done now, it’s just not for me. Maybe when I can’t play as much, when the game has passed me, maybe I could be part of a team where I don’t play as much but reap the benefits of a championship. Maybe so, but before that happens I’d probably retire anyway.”
Chasing rings is one of the hottest topics in the NBA in 2018. Players are criticised if they move to win or if they stay put out of loyalty. It was the centre of the Paul George and LeBron James debates this offseason, not to mention the furore over DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Warriors.
Moving for a championship – particularly if it means less playing time – will always split opinion. Carter, as he said himself, could have done the same, shooting threes for the Warriors, but he opted for maximum minutes on the court.
Prioritising minutes or glory is a personal decision, and the sensible outlook of Carter is a refreshing addition to the debate. Few NBA fans will have been upset at Carter playing for the rebuilding Kings and Hawks. If he or others decide to go the other way, and sacrifice game time for a parade, it’s okay too.
It might just be a generational thing. Ring-counting influences decision-making, it’s hardly surprising that players want to win titles.
Whatever the reasoning, Atlanta are lucky to have a NBA great for the 2018/19 season. And we’re all hoping Carter goes on forever.
Vince Carter took part in a global conference call before he heads to Orlando where he will serve as a Fox Sports game analyst at the Jr. NBA World Championship, a first-of-its kind global youth basketball tournament for the top 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls teams from around the world.