Did coronavirus just cause Vince Carter to play his last NBA game?

Jack Baer

The NBA’s decision to suspend its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 will have countless ripple effects in basketball and the sports world in general, but one of the sadder ones could be a legend’s career ending several weeks too early.

Atlanta Hawks forward Vince Carter has already announced that he will retire after this season, ending a career that has spanned four decades, eight teams, eight All-Star selections and an iconic Slam Dunk Contest performance.

If the NBA doesn’t resume its season in time to play more regular season games before the playoffs begin, that means Carter has played his final game for the 20-47 Hawks. It certainly seems possible given the level of worry around the growing pandemic.

Vince Carter: ‘A weird way to say I’m calling it a career’

Even Carter himself acknowledged the possibility after Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks.

“It’s a weird way to say I’m calling it a career. It really is,” Carter said. “I have 15 games left, technically. But if not, I’m one with it. It’s just weird, as we’re getting briefed on everything ... I would just sit there, like ‘Alright, it ended like that.’”

Carter followed that up with a tweet that seemed to embrace the news.

If this is really it for Carter, then at least he’ll have ended his career on a positive note. The 43-year-old drilled a 3-pointer as the clock ticked down in overtime for possibly his final basket.

Not a bad way to go out, even if it is a little awkward.

If this is indeed it for Vince Carter, it's been an incredible career. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

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