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Vince Carter, future Hall of Famer and dunking legend, retires from NBA

Vince Carter #15 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts after being honored by the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on February 12, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio.(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Future Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame member, dunking legend and 22-year NBA veteran Vince Carter officially announced his retirement on a podcast published Thursday.

Carter, who played for the Phoenix Suns from 2010-11 but is most well-known for playing with the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets, confirmed that he is calling it a career as his Atlanta Hawks have finished their 2019-20 season.

They concluded their year in March as the coronavirus pandemic suspended the NBA season. Only 22 teams will resume the altered season, but Atlanta will not because it is one of eight teams that did not make the cut for an eight-game run to solidify playoff seeding.

Carter, the No. 5 pick in the 1998 draft, had already said this would be his last season.

“I’m not going to say since March 11 (I knew I was going to retire), I’m not going to say since that day, but pretty close,” Carter said on The Ringer’s Winging It with Vince Carter podcast. “Since the end of March — we’ve talked about it — I felt that it was pretty much over. That’s kind of how I’ve handled it. It made for, if there was any disappointment because of the season or any of that, it was easier to put it aside and handle it that way. It’s something bigger than my career.

“With the coronavirus, it was taking people’s lives rapidly — that’s the big picture in my mind. I was able to put the weird ending, the abrupt stoppage of play to an ending, aside for the bigger picture. Obviously you’re worried about family, friends … as you go further on, there’s always going to be somebody close to you or pretty close by way of somebody that’s been affected by it.”

As he retires at 43 years old and with the longest career in NBA history, Carter holds career averages of 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

Carter played 51 games for Phoenix after being acquired in a deal with the Orlando Magic during the 2010-11 season. He, center Marcin Gortat, guard Mickael Pietrus, a first-round pick and cash were sent to the Suns as they shipped Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark to Orlando.

Carter averaged 13.7 points per game before the team waived him following the 2011 lockout.

Carter, who played from 1998-2020, made the NBA All-Star Game eight times, won rookie of the year in 1999 and appeared on two All-NBA teams in his career.

He won one of the most memorable dunk contests in 2000 and during the 2000 Olympics made one of the most iconic dunks in Team USA history by jumping over 7-foot-2 French center Frédéric Weis.

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