By Antigoni Zachari / email@example.com
The NBA season is set to resume after a long break, though Vince Carter won’t be returning to the courts for the season finale since he has officially retired from action, as the player himself broke the news on The Ringer. The suspension of the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic led to the inglorious end of Carter’s 22-season-long career, as the Atlanta Hawks will not be part of the 22 teams playing when the NBA season resumes.
“It’s a weird way to say I’m calling it a career,” Carter told the press after the last game of his career back in March (a loss to the New York Knicks). “You’re used to not having any more games left, instead I technically have 15 games left, but if not, I’m one with it. It’s just weird, as we were getting briefed on everything and what’s going on, I was just sitting there like ‘all right this is it, just like that.”
The end of Vinsanity may not have been the most suitable one for the legacy Carter leaves behind, though it leaves us with feelings of contempt and awe when we look back to his career. Carter loved to defy gravity and to rise above the rims, rightfully earning his nickname in action.
Out of all of his inhumane dunks, the world will forever remember “le dunk de la mort” (=the dunk of death) vividly, even if it happened in an era when the information wasn’t as widely spread through social media or streaming platforms. For basketball fans that were tuned into their TVs at the time, September 25, 2000, would make a huge difference in the history of the sport, one that would never be repeated again. Carter lifted off the ground, above French center Frederic Weis, for one of the most iconic moments in basketball. Weis, standing at 2.18 m. still remembers that moment, though he has not replayed it since. “Carter deserves to make history. Sadly for me, I was on the video too. But I learned people can fly”, Weis told ESPN a few years ago while tracing back to the “dunk of death”.
Carter would then help the USA win gold in the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament, one of the many honors of his career later on. He retires from action having played a record-breaking 22 seasons in the NBA and is regarded as one of the greatest three-point shooters despite not winning an NBA title or MVP award during his career. He led the Toronto Raptors to their first franchise playoff appearance, while he delivered more iconic dunks during the 2000 Slam Dunk contest.
The eight-time NBA All-Star might not have wanted any celebration to end his career, though fans are suggesting several ways to honor his legacy. Some call for the Raptors to sign their long-term star for the post-season, while others suggest he returns for one more “proper” final season. The truth is that the season suspension caused an abrupt end for Carter, though the memories will live on.