Vince Carter becomes first player to appear in NBA game in four different decades

Kurt Helin
NBC Sports

Vince Carter first stepped on an NBA court at the Boston Garden on Feb. 5, 1999, scoring 16 points in a Toronto win.

Saturday night — Jan. 4, 2020 — Carter played 18 minutes for the Atlanta Hawks against Indiana, playing 18 minutes at age 42.

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In that game Saturday, Carter became the first player in NBA history to play in four different decades.


He’d already set a record for longevity when he re-signed last summer with Atlanta for his 22nd NBA season (outlasting Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish, and Kevin Willis, who all played 21). There are 36 players in the NBA this season who were born after Carter’s 1999 NBA debut.

Over the course of those 22 seasons, Carter evolved from high-flying dunker and a team’s No. 1 scoring option to a quality veteran role player, a transition a lot of players fail to make.

Still, somehow it’s not going to feel complete until Vince Carter dunks this season, having then dunked in four different decades.

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