When Vince Carter of the Atlanta Hawks took the floor Saturday night he made history, becoming the first NBA player to suit up in four different calendar decades — the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s.
At age 42, Carter is currently the oldest player in the league. He played his first NBA game in early 1999.
To put his achievement in perspective, LeBron James was about to enter eighth grade when Carter was chosen in the 1998 NBA draft, according to NBA.com. Rising star Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks had not been born.
Nicknamed “Vinsanity” during his prime, Carter has been a fan favorite because of his sensational dunks, such as the 360-degree windmill dunk in the 2000 NBA All-Star Game dunk contest. Sports Illustrated ranked it No.1 in the history of the dunk competition.
Internationally, he’s best remembered for soaring over the head of a 7-foot-2 French player for an emphatic dunk at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
The play was so dominating that the French called it le dunk de la mort — “the Dunk of Death.”
A Florida native, Carter played three years at the University of North Carolina before going pro. He spent his early years in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors, earning the nickname “Air Canada,” and played with six other teams before joining the Hawks.
On Saturday night at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Carter entered the game against the Indiana Pacers in the first quarter to a standing ovation. He scored three points on a long-range shot, not a dunk.