“If Kobe Bryant can see peace in retirement, I can also”: Vince Carter contrasts his NBA and basketball journey through high school with the Lakers legend

Akash Murty
|Published October 31, 2021

Vince Carter played with many all-time greats through his career. Let’s listen to him talking about his time playing with Kobe Bryant in high school.

Vince Carter, arguably the league’s best dunker of all time shared a special bond with Kobe Bryant. The 7-time All-star not only had the privilege to play against all-time basketball greats like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James throughout his NBA career, Vince grew up with Kevin Garnett, played with Kobe in High school, and with Tim Duncan in college.

Those are too big of names to be associated with, and to play alongside or against them, Carter had to make it big like those guys. He had a great basketball career even without winning many individual honors or a championship.

It wasn’t just great, it was long, longest to be accurate. When many guys couldn’t even stay in the league for a few years, this 6’6 shooting guard, nicknamed “Vinsanity” for his insane dunks, stayed in the league for 22-years.

Also read: “Kobe Bryant wanted to steal the show from Michael Jordan”: Vince Carter talks about how the Lakers legend wouldn’t let the ‘GOAT’ win his last ever All-Star Game

He talked about all of it on a podcast with former NBA players Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes.

Vince Carter remembered playing alongside Kobe Bryant and the suggestion he got from the Black Mamba for retirement

On one of the early episodes of their now-famous podcast “All The Smoke” the duo of former NBA champions had Vince Carter as their guest after his retirement. “Air Canada” talked all about his NBA career and life after retirement. He touched upon his relationship with Kobe Bryant.

Remembering their High School days, Vince talked about the AAU team where he and Kobe first teamed up to form the best AAU team of all time, they won 2 AAU national championships.

Carter started: “I remember Kobe’s first day on our AAU team, so we played AAU in Patterson with Tim Thomas, were playing against Elton Brand, Kobe comes to the squad, first couple of games he wouldn’t start, coming in, doing his things still. And then, I remember Kobe’s first game, playing point (guard), getting down, gets to half court, pull up, shoots an airball. We are like ‘bro, what’s going on, step in a little bit’. Next time coming to half court, shoots again, net!”

While Kobe’s mentality is no secret to anyone who knows a thing or two about basketball, he had that killer Mamba mentality very early, Vince continued, 

“His confidence, that mentality at that age, on his first, second game, he wasn’t like let me fit in, Tim Thomas was first in his class, I was top 5, but he was like, bro, I belong!

Just 3-4 games in, we were beating teams by 50-60 points, he was our point guard at 6’6, Tim played point guard at 6’10 they were just throwing me lobs all day”. 

Kobe not only helped Vince in becoming a big name before getting drafted into the NBA, but he also helped him after retirement. The Slam Dunk contest Champion of 2000 said 

“If one of the dudes, who’s one of the best to do it and just eats sleeps and lives winning and can be at peace, I can see retirement.”

Carter played in the NBA for 22-years which is the most anyone has ever played in the league. He has played in 4 different decades and with several Hall of Famers. So he had a difficult time deciding when should he retire, and Kobe who himself played 20 years helped his fellow AAU teammate out in suggesting that he can still find peace after quitting basketball and coming into the real world.

Also read: “Masked Kobe Bryant got his revenge on Dwyane Wade”: How the ‘Black Mamba’ torched the Miami Heat after Wade broke his nose

The host Stephen Jackson jokes about it compares it coming out of jail to this new world, but indeed, it must feel like a new world when you wouldn’t be doing what you’re used to doing for more than two decades.

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About the author

Akash Murty

Akash Murty

An Electrical and Electronics Engineer by degree, Akash Murty is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. Previously a Software Engineer, Murty couldn’t keep himself away from sports, and his knack for writing and putting his opinion forward brought him to the TSR. A big Soccer enthusiast, his interest in basketball developed late, as he got access to a hoop for the first time at 17. Following this, he started watching basketball at the 2012 Olympics, which transitioned to NBA, and he became a fan of the game as he watched LeBron James dominate the league. Him being an avid learner of the game and ritually following the league for around a decade, he now writes articles ranging from throwbacks, and live game reports, to gossip. LA Lakers are his favourite basketball team, while Chelsea has his heart in football. He also likes travelling, reading fiction, and sometimes cooking.

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