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Carter becomes first player in NBA history to appear in four decades

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ATLANTA, GA – JANUARY 4: Vince Carter #15 of the Atlanta Hawks talks to Doug McDermott #20 of the Indiana Pacers during the game on January 4, 2020 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP/ Scott Cunningham / NBAE / Getty Images / AFP

Vince Carter became the first player in NBA history to take the floor in four separate decades.

Atlanta Hawks veteran Carter made history against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday – checking in to a standing ovation.

Carter is in the midst of his record-breaking 22nd NBA season at the age of 42, surpassing Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Willis and Robert Parish.

After lengthy stints with the Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets – then the New Jersey Nets – Carter has had short stops with the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.

Heading into Saturday’s fixture, Carter has been averaging 5.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game for the Hawks.

Carter said he never imagined his NBA career would span four decades, with his initial target only being to play for 15 years.

The eight-time All-Star became the first man to play in the league across four decades when he checked into the Atlanta Hawks’ 116-111 home win over the Indiana Pacers to a standing ovation on Saturday.

Carter, the fifth overall pick in the 1998 NBA draft, is in his 22nd season in the league and will turn 43 in January.

The Olympic gold medallist was proud to still be competing over a timeframe that outstrips some of the biggest names in basketball history.

“It’s a unique situation. Prior to the season coming I didn’t know much about this stat and once it got here it got out there,” said Carter.

“I saw a picture of one of my team-mates by the name of Hakeem Olajuwon [who is now 56] and the other was Trae [Young, who is 21] and it’s just like, man, as much as I talk to people and handshake with former friends who are now GMs, coaches, whatever they are, I can say I played against Michael Jordan and stuff like that and now I’m playing against the Trae Youngs and all the stars of today.

“I’m just very thankful to still be around and competing at this level, probably more competitive now because I know the end is near. I challenge myself every day when I get on the floor to play my minutes hard and compete, and not to prove to anybody else but to me that I deserve to be here.

“I never imagined playing this long. I probably said before when I got to the league I said I wanted to play 15 years. Some of the elite superstars of the NBA played 12 to 14 years and I was like, ‘If I can play 15 years, I’m doing something.’ I got to 15 years and I still felt good and here I am seven years later. It’s an unbelievable feeling.

“It hasn’t really hit me. I knew about it coming into the game but once it’s game time I’m locked in on my job and what I need to do. When I get home it’s like, ‘Wow, four decades!’


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Atlanta HawksVince Carter
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