If you had asked Vince Carter a month ago, what his retirement plans were, he would’ve said he could go another year.
Ask him again next month and his answer may change.
“It’s something I fight with every day. I talk with friends and family, but you really don’t know. I think this is my last year. I’m around 90-something percent,” Carter said. “If you had asked me last month, I would’ve said I’d give it a go another year – you just don’t know. So I refuse to make a decision and worry about it during the season. My ultimate goal is to the play my best basketball and to help my team win as many games as possible. After the season, I’ll take time to make a definite decision and I’m sure I’ll go back and forth on it.”
Carter, who’s the oldest active NBA player at 41, isn’t really focused on his playing future. He’s concentrating on 2018-19 – his 21st in the league – and what he calls “Phase Two.”
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But first, the 8-time NBA All Star will join FOX Sports as a game analyst for the inaugural Junior NBA World Championship Aug. 7-12 at the ESPN Wide of World Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.
“It’s something I had interest in for many years,” Carter said. “When the opportunity presented itself, it was a no-brainer and I’m super excited to get some more experience and to see this next generation.”
The first-of-its-kind global youth basketball tournament will feature the top 32 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls teams from around the world.
Carter will get to work with FOX Sports Southwest and Mavericks play-by-play man Mark Followill.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Turner and Fox, and will continue to get better. I want them to see my growth and down the line, hope it becomes a reality,” he said. “They can see my potential. I just have to be myself, appreciate it and work as much as I can.
“I just want to do what makes me happy. I’m still passionate about this game and to be on a roster and wearing a uniform. I wanted to take advantage of that. Not a lot of guys can say it. But I want to prepare myself for phase two. When it’s time to say that’s enough to playing basketball, I want to be ready for after. My fear was go out there and not have anything lined up, so this is helping for after my career.”
Carter said his passion for broadcast first came about seven years ago when he trained at Sportscaster U, a broadcasting training camp at Syracuse. He did some sideline reporting during this summer’s NBA Finals and NBA summer league.
“The transition was seamless,” he said. “When I went to Sportscaster U, that’s where the love began. I gained more interest and it was a different opportunity to see what it was like on the other side. Having playing the game for so long, it was a different perspective to call games on players that I have played against, but it’s a challenge – the studying and the full affect. It’s exciting and it’s all an opportunity to learn and get better, and to practice as much as possible so I’m prepared for later.”
Carter signed with the Hawks – his eighth NBA team – in July for one-year and $2.4 million.
He ranks 22nd all-time with 24,868 career points, eighth in 3-pointers made (2,106) and ninth in games played (1,405).
Carter averaged 5.4 points with the Kings in a limited role last season.
“It was an opportunity. It’s pretty simple. I still enjoy the game and have a love for it. It presented itself and I took advantage,” he said. “Overall in the big picture, I still have a lot to offer. The city has a lot to offer as a player and as I move into the broadcast world.”
Carter played 223 games in three seasons with the Mavericks from 2011-14. His teammate Dirk Nowitzki is also entering his 21st season – all with Dallas, which is the most with a single franchise in NBA history.
Nowitzki signed two days before Carter signed with Atlanta. Both were drafted during the 1998 NBA Draft. Dirk was the No. 9 pick. Carter was No. 5.
“If he walked out on the court for the first time, how many fans could’ve seen this? I’ve had the opportunity to watch him and be his teammate, and Dirk is just great to be around,” Carter said. “He’s great for the franchise. He has the same passion and love for the game as me so it’s tough to walk away. Dirk is definitely a living legend and it will only solidify his hall-of-fame status.”