Vince Carter is the latest veteran to call it a career after 22 seasons in the NBA.
“I’m not going to say since March 11 (I knew I was going to retire), I’m not going to say since that day, but pretty close,” Carter said on the “Winging It with Vince Carter” podcast. “Since the end of March — we’ve talked about it — I felt that it was pretty much over. That’s kind of how I’ve handled it. It made for, if there was any disappointment because of the season or any of that, it was easier to put it aside and handle it that way. It’s something bigger than my career.
“With the coronavirus, it was taking people’s lives rapidly — that’s the big picture in my mind. I was able to put the weird ending, the abrupt stoppage of play to an ending, aside for the bigger picture. Obviously you’re worried about family, friends … as you go further on, there’s always going to be somebody close to you or pretty close by way of somebody that’s been affected by it.”
Athletes are consistently being asked when did they know it was time to walk away from the game that they loved.
Two-time NBA Champion with the Houston Rockets and former 13-year veteran, Kenny Smith knew it was over when he couldn’t guard players at his position coming up the floor.
“I knew my career was over when I could not guard Darrell Armstrong coming up the court,” said Smith on NBA 2K21. I had to have someone else, guard him, and that’s when I knew my career was over.
Smith would officially retire in 1997, and later that year, he would join Turner Sports as a studio analyst, where he has been ever since. During his time with the network, Smith, along with Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Ernie Johnson took home a sports Emmy for Outstanding Studio Show.