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Vince Carter confirms retirement after 22 seasons

Todd Kirkland / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Vince Carter has quashed any speculation of returning for one more season.

With the Atlanta Hawks not taking part in the season resumption in Orlando in July, Carter confirmed he has retired from pro basketball after 22 years.

"I'm officially done playing basketball professionally," the 43-year-old told cohost Annie Finberg on The Ringer's "Winging It With Vince Carter" podcast. "I'll play at home."

Carter was sitting on the bench in overtime against the New York Knicks on March 11 when the NBA announced the season's indefinite suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. Following the league's statement, he entered the game and drilled a 3-pointer with seconds left, delighting his teammates and the Hawks fans in attendance despite the impending loss.

Carter says hitting that attempt helped him process his retirement.

"Making my last shot helped the situation because I think, honestly, if I didn't make my last shot, it'd have been a little different. I'd have felt a little different," he said. "I'd have been itching to at least get back and just play one minute and just make one shot. I don't care what it would be - free throw, layup, I don't care."

The Hawks honored their veteran's storied career with a tribute package Thursday.

Carter suited up for eight teams in his career, though he's arguably best remembered for his stints with the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets. He was drafted fifth overall by the Golden State Warriors in 1998 but was immediately sent to Toronto in exchange for Antawn Jamison.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement Thursday. "Vince Carter has made an indelible impact on the NBA with his remarkable skill and enduring commitment," he said. "For a record 22 seasons, he played with pure joy and created so many memorable moments."

He spent six-and-a-half seasons with the Raptors, helping the recently founded franchise reach new levels of prominence. However, Carter departed on bad terms in 2004 when he was shipped to the Nets.

Carter added he had been looking forward to playing one last game in Toronto, which would've taken place April 10.

"People have asked, 'What's it going to be like to play that last game in Toronto?' ... I could never picture it, imagine it. As much as I tried, I just never could put the story together. And it got to the point where I said I'm not going to. I'm going to let it happen, however it happens," he said.

"I knew both games would be super, super emotional for a lot of people."

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