As 37 year old Paul Pierce was contemplating retirement after a heart breaking elimination in game 6, his draft class mate Vince Carter was playing in what would be his final game of the season too. The 38 year old Carter played well with 16 points off the bench, but had a play in the first half that reminded me how old Vince was and how sad i’m going to be when he and Pierce leave the game.
The play i’m talking about happened early in the 2nd quarter after a missed 3-pointer by Vince, the ball bounced back to Jeff Green who threw it back to Carter who drove all the way down the middle, took off, took a love tap from David Lee and ended up laying the ball in. I wasn’t really expecting him to throw it down like he would have 14 years ago when he was posterizing Mutombo in the 2001 NBA playoffs, but it’s those memories of a young Vince, who used to lead the league in All-Star votes ever year even when MJ came back, that makes me a little sad.
I’m sure Vince will be back next season and I would bet that Pierce comes back too, as well as Duncan, in the final seasons of Kobe and Dirk. I just hate saying good byes and it looks like within the next couple of years we will be saying good bye to the last players who came into the league during my favorite decade – the 90s.