NBA player Vince Carter looks on as a broadcaster before Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on June 7, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. 
Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

No ring chaser, NBA is still in Vince Carter’s blood

Ring chaser?

That’s not Vince Carter.

Not that the 41-year-old hasn’t had a chance in his 20-season NBA career. The eight-time All-Star, who recently agreed to a one-year contract with the Hawks, doesn’t have a problem with those players who move to a championship contender. For some, the move toward the ultimate aspiration comes late in a career. For others, especially recently, the move comes much earlier.

Carter played last season with the Kings. He will play this season for the Hawks after he agreed to a veteran minimum $2.4 million contract last month. Neither team is high on any oddsmaker’s list for an NBA championship.

“It just feels right for me,” Carter said Thursday of not signing with a team just to win a title. “…. I probably could have done that anywhere. I still want to play the game. Whatever minutes are there, I want. I enjoy teaching. I’ll do that for any team. That’s not a question. It’s just who I am. I come in from an era where that’s not how it was so that’s still instilled in me. I don’t have any problem with how it’s done now. It’s just not for me.

“Maybe when I can’t contribute as much, maybe when the game has passed me completely, then maybe I go be part of a team where I don’t play as much and reap the benefits of a championship, then maybe so. I think before that happens, I’ll probably retire anyway.”

Carter spoke Thursday in advance of a coming broadcasting job – a second career that the veteran has started to purse. Carter will be an analyst for Fox at the Junior NBA World Championships on Aug. 7-12 in Orlando. He has already done work for ESPN and TNT and, most recently, served as an analyst on game coverage at the Las Vegas Summer League.

Carter began thinking about broadcasting – if and when his current career as a player ends – after taking part in the National Basketball Players Association’s Sportscaster U training program several years ago.

It’s part of the reason he chose the Hawks for his 21st NBA season. Carter will join Kevin Willis, Robert Parish and Kevin Garnett for the league record for seasons played. Atlanta is home to studios for TNT and NBA TV.

“The city itself has a lot to offer for what I want to do as a current player and as I move forward in my next career in the broadcasting world and some other interests I have that are off the court as well,” Carter said.

Carter has even sought out Hawks part-owner Grant Hill, a former player and current broadcaster, for broadcasting tips and advice.

Carter played 58 games for the Kings last season and averaged 5.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He averaged 8.0 points in 73 games for the Grizzlies the previous season at age 40, seemingly discovering the Fountain of Youth. He’s a long way from the player that made eight consecutive All-Star appearances and averaged more than 20 points in 10 consecutive seasons.

However, Carter still believes he can play and contribute. The Hawks wanted a strong presence in a young locker room.

“Opportunity,” Carter said of why he chose the Hawks. “It’s pretty simple. It’s opportunity. I still enjoy the game. I still work at the game. It’s a love. It’s tough to walk away, obviously when it’s time, it’s time, but I’m still passionate about it. It’s still in my blood. The opportunity presented itself, and I wanted to take advantage of it. For me, it’s bigger picture. I still have a lot to offer.”

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