Vince Carter confirmed that he has retired from the NBA, ending his 22-year career.
Carter, 43, announced his retirement on The Ringer’s “Winging It With Vince Carter” podcast, saying he is “officially done playing basketball professionally.”
Carter initially announced last year, when he signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks, that 2019-20 would be his final season in the NBA.
But the eight-time All-Star had not addressed his playing status since the NBA season was suspended March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The NBA announced earlier this month that it would resume its season with 22 teams at Walt Disney World in July. But the Hawks (20-47), who own the league’s fourth-worst record, are among the eight teams not included in the NBA’s restart, meaning Carter’s season — and career — ended in March.
Carter acknowledged on the podcast, published Thursday, that the abrupt ending was “tough,” but he emphasized that he is at peace with his decision to retire, especially against the backdrop of the pandemic.
“If there was any disappointment because of the season — any of that — it was kind of easier to put it aside and handle it that way,” Carter said. “It’s like, OK, it’s something bigger than my career. … It’s unfortunate, but with the coronavirus taking people’s lives rapidly, that’s the big picture in my mind.
“So I was able to put the weird ending — the abrupt stoppage of play, to an ending — aside for the bigger picture.”
Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement: “Vince Carter has made an indelible impact on the NBA with his remarkable skill and enduring commitment.”
Silver called Carter “a true ambassador of the game.”
Carter is 19th all-time in NBA history in scoring and was the league’s Rookie of the Year in 1999. He averaged 16.7 points per game and played for eight different teams, most notably with the Raptors and Nets.
Considered one of greatest dunkers in basketball history, Carter won the Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend in 2000. He also made NBA history earlier this year when he became the first NBA player to appear in at least one game in four different decades.