Vince Carter, 39-Year-Old NBA Star, Is Not Retiring Yet: 'I Plan On Coming Back,' Still Has 'The Passion'

Longtime NBA star Vince Carter is apparently not ready to call it a career yet!

During a post-game interview Sunday, Carter made it clear that he was not retiring. When asked if Sunday's Game 4 match against the San Antonio Spurs was his "last" game, the 39-year-old basketball player quipped that it was his "last" game...of the year.

"I plan on coming back... I feel good. Body feels good... That's all I got... I go through the summer. When I don't feel like training, lose the passion and love for playing, then it's time to walk away. I still have it, you know? It still bothers me to lose games and not play well... I'm looking forward to a good summer...getting this old body in shape to try it again."
Vince Carter's overall positive outlook may have been slightly surprising to some NBA fans and critics -- especially when you consider the timing of the interview. Carter and the Memphis Grizzlies had just walked away from getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs 4-0 in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. It would not have been surprising to very many people for the longtime NBA star to use Sunday's loss as an opportunity to announce his retirement after 18 seasons.

However, Vince apparently had other plans -- and retiring from the NBA was not on that list!

Long before Vince Carter became an award-winning NBA star, he made his mark as a star college basketball player for the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Vince Carter started his NBA career in 1998 thanks to a Draft Day trade executed by the Toronto Raptors. He was traded to the team after initially being selected with the fifth overall draft pick by the Golden State Warriors.

To say that Vince Carter took the world by storm during his rookie year as an NBA player would be a major understatement. In addition to making the NBA All-Rookie First Team, he also received the coveted title of NBA Rookie of the year in 1999.

Nearly one year later, Vince Carter made headlines with an epic collection of jaw-dropping dunks that earned him the NBA Slam Dunk championship in 2000.

In the years that have passed since he first left the Raptors in 2004, Vince Carter has played for the New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and the Dallas Mavericks. He first joined the Memphis Grizzlies roster back in 2014 and apparently is not going anywhere anytime soon.

During his emotional post-game speech, Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger praised Vince Carter and Matt Barnes for their hard work as veteran players on the team - setting a fine example for the other players.

According to ESPN, Vince Carter has played 1,274 regular season games so far in his professional basketball career. Even with his recent decline in stats since he first joined the Grizzlies, Carter has still maintained a career average of 18.8 points, 3.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds.

Vince Carter may never have the record-setting championship career that Kobe Bryant recently ended during the regular season after his 20-year career. However, the amount of effort, hard work ethic, and heart that Carter has put into his career over the years speaks volumes about his passion and love for the game.

[Image Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]