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Carter becomes first NBA player to appear in four decades


Vince Carter becomes first player to play in 4 different decades (0:23)

Vince Carter checks in for the Hawks during the first quarter vs. the Pacers, marking history as the first NBA player to play in four different decades. (0:23)

8:00 PM ET

  • Tory BarronESPN Editor


      Tory Barron is a Bristol-based writer and editor for After retiring from playing lacrosse at UConn, the DC native decided to try her hand at writing about people playing sports.

In August, Vince Carter made history when he agreed to a one-year contract to return to the Atlanta Hawks to play in his 22nd season, surpassing the members of the prodigious 21-season club (Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Willis and Robert Parish) as the longest-tenured NBA player.

But that wasn’t the only major milestone on the table. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, when 42-year-old Carter stepped on the court Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers, he became the first NBA player to appear in a game in four different decades. The phrase “like a fine wine” comes to mind.

For context, 36 players who have played at least one minute in the NBA this season were born after Carter made his NBA debut, including Dallas Mavericks phenom Luka Doncic. It’s also worth noting that the year Carter debuted (1999), the San Antonio Spurs and second-year player Tim Duncan won their first of five NBA titles, defeating the 8-seed New York Knicks in the Finals.

We’re not going to say Vinsanity is like the Jennifer Lopez of the association, but just know we’re thinking it.

Carter is one of only five remaining active players in the four major North American sports who debuted during the 1990s. The others? Adam Vinatieri (NFL), Patrick Marleau (NHL), Joe Thornton (NHL) and Zdeno Chara (NHL). Yep, the decade is officially five legends short of being reduced to an “I Love The ’90s” VH1 special.

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