Vince Carter turned 40 today. On the eve of his birthday, he scored on a 360-degree layup under the rim in an NBA game. Just to double-check the math, this is his 19th season in the league.
Phoenix rookie Dragan Bender, the youngest player in the NBA, was born on November 17, 1997. That was right at the beginning of Vince’s junior year at North Carolina.
Vince was selected fifth in the 1998 NBA Draft. Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce are the only other players from that draft still playing. Pierce turns 40 next October. Dirk still has a year and a half. The point is, Vince Carter is old. And I say that with love because he’s still capable of incredible things.
Carter had the best dunk contest performance ever. He has the most famous Olympic dunk ever. (It’s never a bad time to re-read the oral history of his dunk over Frederic Weis.) He made 10 straight All-Star games. He averaged 23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal through his first 12 years in the league. Over the last half-decade he’s turned himself into a consistent guy coming off the bench for playoff teams.
Vince Carter has given basketball fans so much for the last two decades-plus. So spend the rest of your day watching Vince Carter dunk on people at every possible level. Happy birthday Vince. Please don’t ever get old.