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LONGEVITY

Carter becomes first player to play in four different decades

And on Sunday, against the Indiana Pacers, Vince Carter, 42, became the first NBA player to have a career spanning four decades.

In Summary

• Carter has player more than 1,500 NBA games since making his debut in 1999.

• It’s not the first time Carter has made history. In August, Carter became the first person to play 22nd NBA seasons after signing a one-year contract to return to the Hawks.

Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter (15) acknowledges the fans during a recent match
Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter (15) acknowledges the fans during a recent match
Image: / REUTERS

He played against the legendary Michael Jordan and made his debut when the iPhone was just a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye.

And on Sunday, against the Indiana Pacers, Vince Carter, 42, became the first NBA player to have a career spanning four decades.

The Atlanta Hawks star made his debut in the ‘90s (1999 to be precise), and has starred in every decade since - the noughties, 2010s and now the 2020s.

To put it into further context, 36 current NBA players - including four of his team-mates (Bruno Fernando, Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish) - were born after Carter was first drafted.

“I’m just very thankful to still be around and competing at this level,” Carter told Yahoo Sports.

“I saw a picture of one of my team-mates by the name of Hakeem Olajuwon [who is now 56] and the other was Trae (Young, who is 21) and it’s just like, man, as much as I talk to people and handshake with former friends who are now general managers, coaches, whatever they are, I can say I played against Michael Jordan and stuff like that and now I’m playing against the Trae Youngs and all the stars of today.”

“I’m probably more competitive now because I know the end is near. I never imagined playing this long. I got to 15 years and I still felt good and here I am seven years later. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

It’s not the first time Carter has made history. In August, Carter became the first person to play 22nd NBA seasons after signing a one-year contract to return to the Hawks.

The decision meant he became the longest-tenured NBA player, surpassing the members of the 21-season club - Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Willis and Robert Parish.