Vince Carter Returns for 21st NBA Season, Which Is Longer Than Some of His Teammates Have Been Alive

Vinsanity will become just the third player to stay in the NBA for 21 seasons.

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Vinsanity is coming to Atlanta. 

The NBA’s oldest player, Vince Carter, agreed to one-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday, which will ensure the he comes back to the NBA for a 21st season. That ties him with Robert Parrish, Kevin Willis and Kevin Garnett for the longest tenure in the league.

The Hawks will be the 41-year-old’s eighth team and his third team in the last three years. Last season, Carter played 58 games for the Kings, averaging a career low 5.4 points in 17.7 minutes per game. 

But he’s not going to Hawks to be the high-flying Vinsanity of old. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, he’ll be there to add some veteran leadership to a youthful roster

Atlanta general manager Travis Schlenk wanted Carter’s influence around a young, rebuilding roster. Atlanta selected three players, including guard Trae Young, in the first-round of the 2018 NBA draft, and 2017 first-round pick John Collins also is a key part of the franchise’s future. Carter was drafted on June 24, 1998, nearly three months before Young was born — on Sept. 19, 1998.

That last sentence is worth revisiting. Carter’s NBA career is older than Hawks rookie Trae Young!

When Carter won his first dunk contest, his new teammates were still in diapers. 

When Carter skied over 7’2″ Frédéric Weis for what was arguably the greatest dunk in basketball history, his new teammates couldn’t even count to seven, or two. 

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Even in his advanced age, Carter isn’t getting contracts simply to sit on the bench as a glorified assistant coach. He still gets real minutes. And that’s what he cares about. 

Last year when he signed with the hapless Kings, Carter was asked why he wasn’t chasing a ring, something that’s eluded him his entire career. He explained that he cares more about playing that winning titles. 

“I still want to play in this league. I didn’t want to sit and collect a check and ride a wave of some championship team,” he said. “I’m just at a point where I just feel like I can contribute at a high level. And maybe down the line, maybe that option I’ll really embark on. Until then, I want to play, I want to contribute and still help the young guys get better and go through the ups and downs of this league, cause I’ve been there.”

He’s not wrong, either. He may not be the player he once was, but every so often he shows flashes that remind us why he was once called Half Man, Half Amazing.