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Vince Carter, Hawks

Editorials

Vince Carter can still put on a show at the ripe age of 42 years old

Though he’s 42 years of age, Atlanta Hawks veteran Vince Carter put on an epic show in Wednesday night’s 100-96 preseason victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Carter, who is now the first NBA player to play in four different decades, logged 23 minutes against the Knicks, scoring 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field (5-of-10 from beyond the arc) and four rebounds.

Vince was on fire in the second quarter, racking up 14 points in that frame alone and even launching heat-check triples to the delight of the Madison Square Garden crowd. Then, with just over a minute remaining in the fourth, the former No. 5 overall pick (1998 NBA Draft) knocked down another 3 — this one of the go-ahead variety:

Yes, it was only a preseason game, but everyone inside the arena was loving the show that Carter was putting on, including Knicks head coach David Fizdale:

“Will he just retire already? I’m so tired of him.” Fizdale joked in his postgame presser. “I think it’s phenomenal. It’s awesome to see. He gives us 40-somethings a lot of hope.”

At his age, some might think Carter would simply serve as a mentor near the end of the Hawks’ bench this season. On the contrary, though, he says he’ll try to be available for every game:

“I want to make sure I am available for every game,” Carter told ESPN’s Malika Andrews after Wednesday’s victory. “Obviously, it is Coach’s decision, but I want to keep my body right so I can do that.”

Carter hasn’t played in all 82 games of a regular season since his 2006-07 campaign with the then-New Jersey Nets. According to ESPN, John Stockton is the only player age 40 or older to do so, but Carter is going to try as he finishes up his NBA career:

“You name it,” Carter said of keeping his body in shape this season. “Whatever it is, I am willing to do it.”

In September, Carter re-signed with the Hawks, making his 22nd season in the NBA official. As of today, he ranks fifth on the league’s all-time games played list with 1,481, which is just ahead of Karl Malone (1,476). Carter (2,229) is also sixth on the NBA’s all-time list for 3-pointers made.

An eight-time All-Star and NBA Rookie of the Year winner, Carter has averaged 17.2 points on 43.7 percent shooting (37.4 percent from downtown), 4.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and a steal in 30.7 minutes over the course of his career.

It’s not clear how many minutes Carter will see throughout this season, but it sounds like he’ll be ready to answer the call when needed as he rides into the sunset. While he can’t put on the aerial displays he used to, the future Hall of Famer can still thrill the crowd in other ways.