Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks. 3 teams with one thing in common. Each one of them is carrying a living legend that becomes the story of the team wherever they travel to for games with a lot of appreciation and fanfare, because none of the teams are major contenders this season.
Ever since Kobe Bryant announced his final season, there has been a new culture of appreciation tour for players. Right now Dwayne Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter are benefitting from the precedent set by Kobe, even though two of them haven’t even decided whether this is their final season.
Dwayne Wade has decided to retire at the end of the season and the love he gets all over the country is well deserved. Wade is a much loved NBA figure and a lot of the current young players have grown up idolizing him.
But caught up in this appreciation movement are Dirk and Vince. Dirk, in all honesty should retire after this season. He can hardly move anymore and has no real impact on court. His off court value as the greatest European talent to play in the NBA is immense, especially on this team with 2 young stars who come from Europe.
BREAKING: Vince Carter plans to return for an NBA RECORD 22nd season! pic.twitter.com/FVjOdXFBf2
— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) March 7, 2019
Half-man half-his age pic.twitter.com/IH73E1EdZ9
— Rui Motta (@RuiMMotta) March 5, 2019
But Dirk could be a mentor for them with a locker room role. He doesn’t need to suit up to be part of the team that he’s played all these years for, especially given how close a friend he is to the Mavs owner Mark Cuban.
Vince Carter though is a completely different story. He is the oldest of the lot at 42 years old, and playing on a team that is far from contention right now. But he is the best player of the three in the current time and his contribution both off court as a mentor and on court as a player is very valuable. If you want to look at his off court impact, just look at the Sacramento Kings.
Before the season began, all the talk was about whether Philadelphia would get the 1st pick via Kings or the Celtics would add another top-3 pick to their arsenal of picks. But as things stand, Kings pick would fall in the 14th place as they sit one place out of the playoffs ahead of LeBron James’ Lakers. Ask their best player, De’Aaron Fox how the change came about and he will point to one man who had a big impact: Vince Carter.
Even Atlanta Hawks who were supposed to be a bottom 3 club with such a young set up have improved massively and are one of the form teams of the teams not in the play-off positions. Vince Carter is bringing the right attitude and leadership to these young teams and helping them mature much faster than most would expect. And its not like he’s looking bad doing it.
If you play like this you deserve to be in the NBA. And the NBA world rejoiced today as Vince Carter announced that 42 isn’t old enough to retire. He will revisit this at 43. So we have one more year of vinsanity at the very least as Carter comes back again next season.
“I think I could stretch it out one more,” Vince Carter confirmed.
“At the end of the year, I usually assess from top to bottom to see how I’m feeling. And obviously opportunity, when the phone call rings and teams show interest, that’s a good thing.
“Me personally, I think I could give it another year so why not?” Carter added. “We’ll see what happens.” he added.
— Utkarsh Bhatla (@UtkarshBhatla) March 8, 2019
Who he suits up for is not known as he is on a one year deal with the Hawks this season. But wherever he goes, two things are for certain, it’ll be fun watching him and he will make a great impact for whichever organization he suits up for.