Entering his 22nd NBA season, Vince Carter says he wants to play in 82 games this year

Jack BaerYahoo Sports Contributor

All Vince Carter has to do to make history this season is survive until 2020. With one game next year, he’ll become the first player in NBA history to play in four different decades.

However, the 42-year-old Carter’s goals are apparently bigger than just one game. He wants 82.

Vince Carter’s big plans for 2019-20

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The Atlanta Hawks veteran told ESPN’s Malika Andrews after Tuesday’s preseason game that he wants to play in all 82 games this season, which he has said will be his last.

"I want to make sure I am available for every game," Carter said, per ESPN. "Obviously, it is Coach's decision, but I want to keep my body right so I can do that."

Obviously, that is a lofty goal even for players with 1,569 NBA regular season and postseason games’ worth of wear on their tires. Injuries happen. Roster moves happen. Game plans that don’t involve a 42-year-old man happen. The only player to achieve the feat over the age of 40 is John Stockton in 2002-03. Carter has only done it once in his career, more than a decade ago in 2006-07.

Vince Carter has big plans for this season. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Vince Carter has big plans for this season. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Carter showed he’s at least spry enough to make a different on Wednesday in a win over the New York Knicks, posting 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench.

By the sound of it, Carter might need his own full-time trainer to keep him on the court. From ESPN:

For Carter to achieve his goal, he must take meticulous care of his body. Saying "we don't have time" to cover all of his treatment regiments, Carter noted he will have to work out religiously, rest diligently, ice and stretch.

"You name it," Carter said. "Whatever it is, I am willing to do it."

Appearing in 82 games would be a simply incredible feat for Carter, but he doesn’t need 82 to make history. He also has that four-decade feat on the horizon, and he needs to play in only 42 games to pass Dirk Nowitzki for third in the all-time games played list. If he plays in 80, he’ll pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second all-time behind only Robert Parish (1,611).

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