By Paul Newberry | AP
ATLANTA — Vince Carter feels like a 20-something again.
Always does aback this time of year rolls around.
Never apperception the specks of gray in his beard, all the abrasion and breach on his body, a resume that shows he entered the NBA the aforementioned year assistant Trae Adolescent was born.
Carter has fabricated it to addition aperture night. The adventure of a new division flows through those age-old ol’ bones. Already again, it all seems worthwhile: the banausic practices, the annoying blur sessions, the continued alike flights, the bullwork of 82 games.
“If I had that old ‘heck, actuality we go again’ feeling, afresh I wouldn’t play,” Carter said Tuesday, accepting accomplished up convenance with a few added jumpers. “This is like I’m in my third, fourth, fifth year. I’m aflame about the opportunity. I’m aflame about playing. I still adulation playing. I still adulation competing. I still adore the traveling, the ups and downs of the league. That’s what it’s all about. It’s adamantine to let go.”
The league’s oldest amateur — Carter is 41 and will about-face addition year earlier in January — is aback for his 21st season. That puts him on the bend of some actual absolute company: Robert Parrish, Kevin Willis and Kevin Garnett are the alone players to aftermost that continued in the NBA (Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki additionally has a adventitious to accompany the 21 Club this year).
Carter is hardly block a championship, signing on with a rebuilding Atlanta Hawks aggregation that is years abroad from accepting a astute attempt at aggressive for a title. He’s actuality to drillmaster to a agglomeration of adolescent players and serve as a basic player-coach on a first-year agents led by Lloyd Pierce.
“When we accept our locker allowance and on-the-bus debates and conversations, he’s on our side,” quipped Pierce, a amateur arch drillmaster who is alone about eight months earlier than Carter. “He can chronicle a little afterpiece to the apprenticeship agents than he can with the players.”
Kent Bazemore, the aftermost holdover from a 60-win aggregation that accomplished the Eastern Conference finals in 2015, absent best of his golfing buddies — including Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver — aback the Hawks boarded on a rebuilding plan that accelerate them aerobatics to 24-58 aftermost season.
With Carter on the roster, Bazemore afresh has addition to tee it up with on off days.
“I’ve got a new golfing buddy,” said Bazemore, who at 29 is one of the oldest players on the agenda not called Vince Carter. “I’m aflame about that. (The adolescent players) haven’t gotten into it yet.”
As expected, Carter takes some acquiescent badinage from his teammates, a grandpa antic here, an “ain’t it accomplished your bedtime” there.
But all in all, he seems to fit it absolutely accurately with all these kids.
“We accept a lot in common, accept it or not,” Carter said, breaking into a smile. “I accomplish it my business to apperceive what’s activity on in the millennial world.”
While accepted to ample a abundantly advancement role for the Hawks, Carter will be in the starting calendar aback they accessible the division Wednesday night adjoin the New York Knicks. He’s subbing for ability advanced John Collins, a first-round aces in 2017 and one of those architecture blocks for Atlanta’s future, who is alone by an abate injury.
Never apperception that Carter is alone 6-foot-6 and has spent his absolute career at cutting bouncer and baby forward.
Wherever he’s needed, he’s accessible to accord it a shot.
“I adapt myself in the summer for any situation,” Carter said. “I acquaint the drillmaster aboriginal thing: ‘I’m accommodating to do whatever it takes.’”
Young, the No. 5 all-embracing aces and cornerstone of the Hawks’ makeover, looks advanced to gleaning all he can from a amateur who was already one of the league’s brightest stars, a guy who threw bottomward ailing jams and averaged added than 20 credibility a d in 10 of his aboriginal 12 seasons.
Carter’s above-the-rim antics becoming him a array of nicknames — from “Vinsanity” to “Half-Man, Half-Amazing” — and a acceptable atom one day in the Basketball Hall of Fame, alike admitting he’s never won a championship and there was bitching aboriginal in his career about whether he was giving it his all.
These days, he’s a admired chief citizen, a amateur who draws annihilation but awe for blind on as continued as he has, alike admitting he’s bounced about to six teams in the accomplished decade and hasn’t been a approved amateur back 2012.
“He’s accomplished so abounding things,” Adolescent said. “I can go to him about annihilation and aloof ask him questions. He’s a approaching Hall of Famer. I’m aloof adored to be about him and get admonition from him.”
Carter hasn’t absitively how continued this ride will last.
Twenty-one years ability be enough.
Then again, if he still feels that aforementioned array of action that he’s activity appropriate now, he ability go area no one has gone afore in the NBA.
A 22nd season.
“At year 18, 19, I aloof said I’ll appraise how I feel and the bearings at the end of anniversary year,” Carter said. “Just because I’m aing to a agglomeration of altered accomplishments, I don’t appetite to change my routine. I’ve had a lot of success accomplishing it this way.”
With that, Carter hustled off to the locker room, the aftermost guy to leave the court.
There was addition flight to catch.
Another aperture night to get to.
Follow Paul Newberry on Cheep at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His assignment can be begin at https://apnews.com/search/paul newberry
For added AP NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
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