Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Kings' Carter Defies His Age Oldest Player in NBA Has Game at 41

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Kings' Carter Defies His Age Oldest Player in NBA Has Game at 41

Article excerpt

As the Sacramento Kings finished a shootaround, Vince Carter noticed music playing in the background of the Spectrum Center.

The song was by Bob Marley, or for Carter, who turned 41 Friday, someone he's been listening to for years. As for the rest of his team, one of the youngest in the NBA?

"I guarantee you," Carter said with a grin, "they didn't know that that was Bob Marley playing."

It's a trivial moment in the grand scheme of things, but it's also the perfect example of Carter's standing on his own team and in the league. At 41, Carter is the oldest player in the NBA, and on this youth-oriented Kings squad (where 11 of 17 players are 25 or younger), his veteran status stands out even more. He's also the last of a generation of NBA players coached by former University of North Carolina coach Dean Smith, who died in 2015.

This offseason when he signed with the Kings, Carter knew the situation he'd be coming into -loads of young, unproven talent; a mentoring role; and trying to educate inexperienced players on what the NBA is all about. In fact, the first text message he received after signing was from rookie Justin Jackson, a fellow North Carolina alum (who was 3-years-old when Carter entered the league).

"He called me Mr. Carter, kept calling me sir," Carter said, laughing. "I was like, 'Hey man, cut it out -it's VC or Vince or whatever.' "

But even given Carter's advanced age, he hasn't accepted a bench role or stopped giving the game his all.

That makes sense, considering it's what drives him to keep playing.

"I love it, to be honest with you," Carter said. "If I didn't love it, I wouldn't have the desire to put the work in that I have to put in each and every day.

"The day I don't want to prepare for the season, prepare for a game, is the day I'll walk away -and I'm still willing to do it."

It's also not like Carter is just holding a ceremonial roster slot for this team either. He may only be averaging 4.5 points per game in 15.7 minutes, but there are still flashes of the man known better as 'Air Canada. …

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