Vince Carter has cemented his place in sports history by becoming the first player in the NBA to play in four separate decades.
Carter was drafted in 1998, and the 42-year-old veteran played through the 2000s, the 2010s and now the 2020s as forward for the Atlanta Hawks.
The future Hall of Famer is also the first NBAer to play 22 seasons in the league, msn.com reports, breaking the four-way tie with Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, Kevin Garnett, and Dirk Nowitzki.
As retirement looms, Carter, now in his final season, has played in 1,510 total games and bagged 45,930 career minutes. He would have to play another year to top Parish’s all-time record of 1,611. He’s expected to pass Nowitzki’s 1,522 this season, CBS Sports reports, but Carter has a long way to go to challenge the all-time minutes’ record held by NBA icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, with 57,446.
As Carter continues to go strong in the latter part of his career, he recently showered praise on another athlete for putting in that work: Patriots QB Tom Brady.
“For somebody to do it for that long, who has made a lot of money, it’s not about money. It’s about the love of the game,” Carter said. “He can still play and compete at a high level against guys who could be your kid. That’s what it’s all about. It’s doing what you love. We’ve been doing it for a very long time, and we’re fortunate enough that we’re healthy enough to continue doing what we love for a very long time.”
Fun Fact: Carter previously spoke about how Shaquille O’Neal nearly became a Toronto Raptor when he played on the team. This went down after O’Neal’s departure from the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I tried to get Shaq to Toronto,” Carter said in a Sports Illustrated interview. “I felt like it was close. It was tough at the time, just because … a lot of guys were like, What’s Canada about? It was tough to convince players that it’s a great place until they’re actually there. Even me, when I worked out for them, I didn’t really know what they had to offer until I was actually there.”
Carter, who ranks 20th all-time in points scored in the NBA, is widely regarded as the greatest dunker of all time.