Atlanta Hawks forward Vince Carter may have already played in his final NBA game, but he never thought about the possibility until teammate Dewayne Dedmon brought it to his attention during the club's last contest before the league's indefinite hiatus.
As news of Rudy Gobert's positive COVID-19 test circulated March 11, Dedmon and various members of the Hawks came to realize that the rest of the 2019-20 NBA season could be canceled.
So with 19.5 seconds remaining in overtime and the Hawks trailing by seven to the New York Knicks, head coach Lloyd Pierce checked Carter into the game and the emotions began to hit him as the home crowd chanted.
"I kind of made eye contact with coach (Pierce) and he's like, 'Yeah, yeah,'" Carter said on the latest episode of "Winging it with Vince Carter and Annie Finberg." "Right then, it's like a chill just hit me."
Carter was given the ball on the next possession and drilled a triple from the top of the 3-point arc as the Knicks left him unattended.
"I can say this now, who knows how the season ends and navigates, but, regardless - I won with either result, or either way this ends up," Carter said. "If that was the last game and that was the last shot, I made my last shot and I'm cool with it, and I feel good about my career and how things ended."
Carter is the first NBA player to appear in 22 seasons and sits third all time with 1,541 career games played. The former Rookie of the Year is also sixth on the league's all-time list for 3-pointers made (2,290) and 19th in points scored (25,728).