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Hawks’ Vince Carter passes Karl Malone for 5th place on all-time games played list

Vince Carter, Karl Malone

Atlanta Hawks veteran Vince Carter just passed Utah Jazz great Karl Malone for fifth place on the all-time games played list:

The 42-year-old Carter is playing in his 1,477th game Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks. The veteran has played a key mentorship role with the Hawks this season, averaging 7.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per game entering play Sunday. Heading into the Bucks game, he was shooting nearly 41 percent on 3-pointers.

Carter is playing in his 21st season in the NBA. He may not have the jaw-dropping athleticism he once had that made him one of the most popular players in the league, but his shooting and veteran leadership have been valuable to the rebuilding Hawks.

Carter was the fifth pick in the 1998 NBA Draft to the Golden State Warriors, but he was immediately traded to the Toronto Raptors for No. 4 pick Antawn Jamison. Carter immediately blossomed into a star with the Raptors, getting buckets at a high level and providing nightly highlight-reel plays.

Carter was traded to the New Jersey Nets during the 2004-05 season and continued his excellence. He has also spent time with the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.

It’s unclear if Vince Carter will return for a 22nd season, though he has hinted at it. If he does, he could pass Malone’s former teammate, John Stockton, on the games played list. Stockton appeared in 1,504 games in his career. Dirk Nowitzki is in third place at 1,515 games played and counting, but the Dallas Mavericks legend is expected to retire at the end of this season.