Has viral crisis ended NBA legend Vince Carter’s career early?

Leigh Copson:
NBA Vince Carter

NBA legend Vince Carter’s career may have come to an end earlier than planned after the league announced that it had suspended games for the foreseeable future.

The NBA made the huge announcement on Wednesday night after a player, believed to be Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert, was diagnosed with Coronavirus, but the league gave the green light to complete games that were already underway when the statement was put out.

One of those games that was already in progress was the matchup between the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks at the State Farm Arena, which featured future Hall-of-Famer Vince Carter.

The 43-year-old has previously confirmed that the 2019/20 NBA season would be his last, and amid the uncertainty of what will happen next the Hawks subbed him in for the final few seconds of the overtime loss to the Knicks.

Already boasting an unassailable eight-point lead, the New York players showed their respect for Carter by sportingly allowing him a free shot, and the former Toronto Raptor repaid their gesture by sinking a three-pointer for what may well be the last points he ever scores in an iconic career that saw him win Rookie of the Year in 1999 and go on to make seven NBA All-Star appearances and win the Slam Dunk contest in 2000.

“It’s just weird,” Carter told reporters afterwards. “As we were being briefed on everything I’m sitting there, like, ‘All right, this is it. Like that. It ended like that.’ Probably tonight, I’ll reflect, like, ‘Golly, this is weird, man.’

“If it ended today and this day, this end of the season, these last 16 games will be talked about for a very long time—that’s something I’ll always remember. At least I scored my last basket. It will be a weird-but-cool memory.”

Carter followed up his comments at the press conference with tweet later on in the evening.

“Such a weird night but I am truly thankful for each and every person during this 22yr journey,” he wrote. “If this is really it, I thank everyone for your love and support for all these years. B E Z.”