Vince Carter cares not for ring chasing and your narrative that he needs to win a title to validate his career.
The oldest player in the NBA will continue for another season after signing a one-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks at the veteran’s minimum of $2.4 million.
Carter, who will turn 42 before next season ends, is not only joining a team that finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference this past year, but he’s doing it for the bare minimum amount of money.
The man’s motivations seem simple enough – he wants to keep playing the game he loves. Money and winning are clearly not his main driving forces.
On the surface, the decision is confusing. We’re so used to seeing veterans at the tail-end of their careers picking between one last payday or a chance to win a championship, that when we see Carter pick neither, it goes against the norm.
Carter’s choice is especially interesting because he’s one of the better players in NBA history without a ring. In fact, only five players have ever scored more career points than Carter (24,868) and not been on a title-winning team.
Vince Carter has the sixth-most points by a player without an NBA title. pic.twitter.com/qUA8TH8Hvo— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 26, 2018
For someone who has experienced pretty much everything else the NBA has to offer, the only thing left would seemingly be the sweet taste of reaching the pinnacle and lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy.
If that was truly important to Carter though, he would pursue it. It’s unclear if the Golden State Warriors would have brought him in, but on a minimum deal, his veteran presence alone would make him a worthwhile signing. And if not the Warriors, he could have tried to make a run elsewhere, perhaps with Houston or Boston or Philadelphia. There was a spot for him somewhere with a good team.
But that’s what makes Carter’s decision so refreshing. He doesn’t appear to care much about winning a title, so he’s not going to chase one just to improve the perception of him.
Because the conversation on the legacies of players have concentrated so highly on whether or not they have a ring, it’s undoubtedly had an effect on stars feeling they have to win one. Look no further than Kevin Durant heading to Golden State.
For Carter, a title this late in his career would mean little to how we view him, mostly because his impact would be minimal as a low-minute bench option. So why fake it?
Carter might as well play where he wants and help mold a young team requiring an old head to steer them in the right direction on and off the court – arguably a more valuable contribution than providing a little scoring punch off the bench for a Warriors team that will likely win the title with or without him.
Credit to Carter for recognising that and not basing his decision on what other people think. It’s also another reminder that the rangzzzz argument needs to die.
A player can be more than the team success he helps inspire – or doesn’t. If anyone is a testament to that, it’s the high-flying Carter, whose career highlight reel is plenty full as it is.
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