The Atlanta Hawks hosted an intimate conversation between NBA legend Vince Carter and rapper and activist Killer Mike at Morehouse College in the Bank of America auditorium. This one hour conversation focused on Vince Carter’s twenty-two years in the NBA and Carter becoming the first player to suit up and play in four different decades.
Killer Mike praised Carter on his career and then started to talk about the importance of education. Killer Mike immediately shared that dropping out of Morehouse College was the worst decision he’s ever made. This bad decision led to Vince Carter explaining how important education was to his family and how his mother emphasized “Student-Athlete”. Vince stated his mother would make him do homework before he could play in a game and sometimes he would arrive late to games because of it. Morehouse students were shocked to find out that Vince has a degree from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in African-American studies. According to SportsRec.com, about 21% of NBA players have college degrees.
The NCAA states that players must be one year removed from high school before entering the draft. Vince Carter entered the draft in 1998 after his junior year at U.N.C. and was the 5th overall pick. In the same night he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors he was traded to the Toronto Raptors. Killer Mike described the draft transaction as, “You were kissed and broken up with on that same night!” The crowd erupted in laughter at this analogy.
Vince Carter became an instant fan favorite after showcasing his skills in the 2000 Slam Dunk contest. Killer Mike asked Vince what did he say to his mom and agent about the dunks he planned to perform in the contest and Vince shared, “Nothing. I freestyled every dunk that night!” Vince was nicknamed, “Vinsanity”, during the prime of his career and it still applies because of how long he’s been in the league.
Carter has played in the NBA four different decades and he shared that the game is faster now. “I am 43 and I am still playing against guys who are 20. They could be my kids. Seriously! So for me I have to earn it and I have to work at it everyday just to keep up,” says Vince. He shares that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are two players he loved playing against. Vince told the students a story about how he played AAU basketball with Kobe and that Kobe had the Mamba Mentality back then. As many mourn the recent death of Kobe Bryant, Vince appreciates the time he was given to play against one of the greatest basketball players in the league.
Carter is very competitive and during his retirement he doesn’t plan on losing that edge. When asked what’s next for him once he retires after this basketball season Vince says he’s excited about broadcasting. He wants to learn from other players who have transitioned into broadcasting and someone he’s leaning on heavily is his cousin Tracy McGrady. Vince and Tracy played basketball together in Toronto and Vince shared that Tracy helped him out while he was there. Killer Mike asked Vince if there was a moment during his NBA career that helped him grow as a man and Vince shared when Tracy was traded to Orlando. There was lots of controversy created by the media about the trade and Vince said it hurt to see Tracy leave.
“One of the mottoes I live by is ‘Think before you act’… And when you make that decision you have to live with the outcome of it”, Vince states. He realized that this was a part of the business in basketball so he made sure to reach out to his cousin and clear up the air.
There’s no doubt that Vince Carter has had a stellar career on and off the court in the National Basketball Association. There shouldn’t be any doubt on whether he should be on the NBA Hall of Fame ballot once he retires. The conversations that the Atlanta Hawks organization is sharing with fans around Atlanta shows that the team supports Vince the legend and will continue once he says his final good bye. He’s “half-man, half-amazing,” but to many of us who are rooting for him he’s “Vinsanity.”