Vince Carter has announced his retirement from the NBA, bringing an end to a 22-year career, the longest in the league’s history.
He made the announcement on the Winging It podcast, saying: “I’m officially finished playing basketball.”
Carter, 43, was the No 5 overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft and played his first six-plus seasons with the Toronto Raptors, winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1999 and the NBA Dunk Contest in 2000. He made eight consecutive All-Star teams from 2000-07.
The Hawks were the final stop of Carter’s NBA journey, as he spent the past two seasons as a veteran presence on a young Atlanta team. He also played with the New Jersey Nets (2004-09), Orlando Magic (2009-10), Phoenix Suns (2010-11), Memphis Grizzlies (2014-17) and Sacramento Kings (2017-18).
Carter: Weird way to potentially end careerFollowing the NBA’s decision to suspend their season, Vince Carter reflected on what could potentially be the end of his 22-year professional career.
“Over the last two years, Vince Carter has been a committed leader, respected mentor and influential example on the court, in the locker room and in the Atlanta community,” the Hawks said in a team statement.
“Throughout his historic 22-year journey covering an unprecedented four different decades, his evolving career arc was perhaps like none other in league history – from Top 5 Draft Pick to Rookie of the Year to Slam Dunk Champion to superstar and eight-time All-Star to Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year and valuable role player.
“It’s an honour to the Hawks organisation that he completed his Hall of Fame career wearing Atlanta across his chest and representing our city.
Carter averaged more than 20 points per game in 10 seasons, with a career-high of 27.6 in 2000-01.
He retires with career averages of 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
The North Carolina product played 60 games for the Hawks in the 2019-20 season, averaging 5.0 points in 14.6 minutes per game.
The Hawks are not among the teams who will finish the coronavirus-interrupted season near Orlando, beginning next month.
He scored five points in his final career game, an overtime loss to the New York Knicks on March 11; the day the season was suspended. Carter’s 22nd season surpassed the 21 played by Robert Parish, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Willis and Dirk Nowitzki.
Former Great Britain and England hockey stars are the guests on new episode of the Will Greenwood Podcast
Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh – the first-ever same-sex married couple to win Olympic gold – discuss psychology, the mental side of elite sport, injuries, disappointments and more on the road to Rio 20Hockey players for Great Britain and England, the couple racked up nearly 700 international caps between them from 1999 to 2016, and chatted to Sky Sports Rugby as guests on the latest Will Greenwood Podcast.
Having married in 2013, the Richardson-Walshs welcomed their first child in January, and among more topics, spoke extensively on playing sport at the highest level, the physical toll, coping with injury and failure, as well as the mental side of competing at the very top.
As GB captain between 2003 and 2016, what were some of the coping mechanisms Kate employed in her career?null
“We did a lot of work with our psychologist, particularly the last seven years,” she said. “On that preparation, mental, physical, emotional. It was really transformative actually.null
“I struggled with it for years, trying to get to that sweet spot where you feel everything can just flow and you’re not having to try too hard or force anything.
“I would either be too amped up, too angry, aggro, feisty, or I’d be the other side – really laid back, very casual, and a bit slow and reactive.
“It took me a long time to find my rhythm. We talk with our psychologist about all the things you can do, and some of it is physical in terms of things to prepare, and others mental.
“It didn’t change whether we were playing an Olympic final or against a club first team, the preparation needed to be the same.
“So for me, I would make sure I got my kit out the night before, which sometimes is not possible if you’ve been playing back-to-back games, but I’d get as much as I could ready, all folded and ready to go so I wouldn’t be faffing around the next day trying to scrabble around finding things, because that would make me anxious and nervous.
“The night before the game, I’d also do a lot of my thinking in terms of who I’d be playing against.
“The opposition, their tactics, our tactics, what will I see facing me? As a defender, I’ve got the whole game in front of me, how are players going to run at me? What skill-sets have they got? Where are the likely passing channels and gaps? Which players will link up most?
“I just go to sleep thinking and dreaming about those things. The next day when it’s game day, I just feel ready and I can get into the routine of the day, the meetings, set-piece briefings, checking in with players.
“Bill Belichick, the NFL coach, said about taking the temperature in the room, and I loved that. As I progressed in my captaincy, that was something I became able to do, because my own preparation became second nature.
Then with my leadership group, I’d ask ‘how is everybody? Where are we? What do we need to do?’ Or not do to get ourselves in that right space.
“But it took me a long time to really grasp how much players were feeding off me as a captain, and how important it was that I was aware of that, because it was affecting them. To be honest, it was affecting me and my performance as well, so I needed to think about it in both ways.”
Highs and lows
Having represented Britain at the highest level since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, the 2016 Olympic Games finally allowed the Richardson-Walshs to pick up gold.
What was that moment like?
“I was 18 in Sydney, Kate was 20 – we were really young when we first got into the team and went to an Olympic Games,” Helen says.
“It was a long hard road, with so many downs, challenges. Yes, there were amazing positives and highs along the way, but there were lots of downs.
“In that moment and being able to share it with Kate was incredible, and not something a lot of people get to do. And it has then helped us moving away from the sport, because we just get each other, we understand.
“It’s hard to stop doing the thing you’ve done all your life, and you know, I would carry on playing forever if I could, if my body allowed me too, but it doesn’t, you have to stop.
“So on the occasion where one of us wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I feel rubbish today and I don’t know why’, the other one will just be like, ‘well that’s OK, I get it’, and that’s really nice to be able to have that and not have to explain yourself.
“I think that’s really precious.”
Precious in life, but precious in a sporting context too. The last married couple to achieve Olympic gold medals? Cyril and Dorothy Wright for GB at the 1920 Olympics in sailing.
Over the course of careers which spanned nearly two decades, what were some of those lowest points for the Richardson-Walshs which occurred before the ultimate high of Olympic gold?
“Where do you want us to start?” Kate says. “I think the first one which was pretty formative to me was 2004, when we failed to qualify for the Athens Olympic Games.
“We had an opportunity to qualify and we’d missed that, and then this was our last chance to qualify: There were 12 teams, the top five qualified and we were the top-ranked team at the time, so should have been fine.
“But we weren’t in a good place and that ranking wasn’t really where we were as a group. It slowly went away – we were winning 2-0 in our first game and drew 2-2; each game just got further and further away from us, and it came down to a game against South Korea which we needed to win in order to get an opportunity to play for that fifth spot.
“We lost that game 2-0 and I still get very emotional about it now because I can absolutely put myself in that moment at the final whistle when it went, and being on that field with players 10 years my senior who probably knew at that point it was the last time they were going to pull on that shirt.
“I was a young captain at 23, and to have to help some of those players off the field was so incredibly powerful and it ignited something in me which powered me for the rest of my career. I never, ever wanted to let that happen again.
“The aftermath was almost worse. We lost 70 per cent of our funding as a sport, what little we had anyway.
“It was really hard-going for a few years and that was powerful for me.”
Helen adds: “I think my hardest moment was in 2014, not long before Rio really. In 2013, one of the discs in my back ruptured and I needed surgery.
“I had surgery, got back onto the pitch but 11 months later the same thing happened again, so in 2014 I needed more back surgery, which is really a frightening place to be.
“When you’re having surgery on your back, the fear there of what can go wrong is very real.
“That surgery was very close to a World Cup, and I’d tried to get back for it, with the target being selection nine weeks after back surgery – which when I say out loud now is crazy, but I tried to get back for that World Cup.
“I didn’t make it, didn’t get selected and I missed out. I felt like I was in a place where I could have been selected, but I didn’t and so for the first time, I got dropped from a squad I felt I should have been in, and that was really hard because it challenged everything about me.
“My ego was probably the hardest hit in that moment. I also felt like that was the end, because there was a new coach in place, my body was clearly struggling, I didn’t know if I was going to get back from this second surgery, and I thought that was the end of my career.
“That was definitely my lowest moment and I really struggled with my mental health, and for both of us, 2014 was a year that was pretty awful.”But we got through and it kept driving us. More learnings took place and helped without doubt to get us to Rio.”
Amron Sands is an 11-0 undefeated heavyweight prospect from the Bahamas who Deontay Wilder used as a sparring partner before facing Tyson Fury.
How did sparring go with Wilder?
Amron Sands: In the first round I was nervous to be in the ring with Wilder, a hard hitter. It was overwhelming to be in there with the WBC champion of the world. For me, it was a learning experience.
They wanted me to move. I can move, I am a mover, which is why they brought me in. I have good head movement, good feints. They liked my work with him.
He caught me with his right hand. He is a strong person.
Wilder lost to Fury…
Amron Sands: Everybody knows Wilder has problems with guys who move. He is used to throwing his one punch and knocking guys out.null
But to face Fury, a 6ft 9in guy who can move? That is a problem for him.
Did you sense Wilder’s struggles with ‘guys who move’ in sparring?
Amron Sands: Yes. If they decide to do a trilogy fight and Wilder doesn’t change, Fury will win again. He struggles with movement and that’s what Fury does.
You have won all 11 fights in a three-year pro career. Describe your style…
Amron Sands: I put my combinations together. I don’t like the one-punch style. What happens if your one punch doesn’t get him? You miss your opportunity.
I am an offensive person. I have no problem going forward. I am a fighter that likes to put my foot on the gas – go, go, go.
My coach is stronger on the defensive side because he used to play professional football. He was in charge of the defensive line. He is better on defence and that was the weakest part of my game.
How did you discover boxing in the Bahamas?
Amron Sands: My mother is an American citizen and she sent me to college in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on a basketball scholarship. It went very well. I was supposed to go to Oklahoma State University on a scholarship but I tore my ACL and MCL.
It turned me away from basketball because my vertical jump wasn’t as high any more. I wasn’t as fast anymore.
Then I went home but had a motorcycle accident.
My basketball coach told me to try boxing. I said: ‘Me? Boxing?’.
I started training just for fitness but learned some stuff, enjoyed it, and liked the rush that it gave me.
I did my first amateur tournament and, by my second, was fighting without headgear in Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela against some top guys. I trained with Cuba’s Olympic team.
I gained a lot of experience in a short amount of time.
You must have known you were a tough guy…
Amron Sands: No! I wasn’t aware!
I didn’t choose boxing. Boxing chose me. I never pictured myself in a boxing ring, never in a million years.
But I tried it and was good. My first amateur fight was at 18. I would study then ask my coach how to do things.
I became light on my feet. I would always practise things over and over and over. That’s what got me ahead.
If you survived sparring with Wilder you must have a strong chin…
Amron Sands: In my fourth fight I fought a guy who was 40lbs heavier. He wasn’t accurate but he connected! I heard the 10-second bell and relaxed but he hit me.
I wobbled but didn’t drop. I smiled and said: ‘You almost got me!’
I’ve had my chin tested in the amateurs and pros. I have a really strong chin.
Dubois would have a problem with my movement because he is flat-footed
Are you watching the British heavyweight scene?
Amron Sands: The British boys have all the belts, so of course.
I keep an eye on Daniel Dubois, Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua.
I know me and Dubois will fight one day in the future. I heard of him last year – he’s young and explosive.
But he would have a problem with my movement because he is flat-footed.
their first English title in 30 years potentially just 90 minutes away. But City dominated the ball early on and looked likely to make the Reds wait go on when Chelsea stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga nearly handed the visitors a goal, miscuing a pass out and having to stop Bernardo Silva from capitalising.
Kepa impressed moments later though, tipping Fernandinho’s header from a set-piece over the bar and Chelsea began to get a foothold, with Ross Barkley seeing one shot blocked and another cleared two yards out by Fernandinho before Andreas Christensen drew a smart stop from Ederson with a header from the resulting corner.
Those chances had come against the run of play and Chelsea took the lead on 36 minutes with a stunning counter-attack.null
After a cleared Man City free-kick, Mendy and Gundogan’s miscommunication allowed Pulisic to pick up the ball just inside his own half and charge forwards, where, after skipping past Mendy’s recovery challenge, the American expertly slotted in from the edge of the penalty area.
Both Chelsea and Liverpool supporters will have celebrated that one but just 10 minutes after the break De Bruyne hauled City back on level terms with a sensational free-kick, looping his shot into the top corner from 30 yards out.
Raheem Sterling then almost completed the turn around when he chipped over Kepa and onto the post from a fast City break before Mason Mount blew a great chance to put Chelsea back in front, skewing wide on 62 minutes.
Sterling again went close, bending a shot just beyond the far post after Antonio Rudiger had survived a VAR check on his painful – but legal – collision with De Bruyne from a clearance.
However, despite City being in full flow, Chelsea remained dangerous on the break and Kyle Walker pulled off an incredible sliding goalline clearance to deny Pulisic a second on 72 minutes when Chelsea and Liverpool supporters were just about to celebrate.
That Chelsea threat eventually proved too much when Fernandinho resorted to pushing away a Tammy Abraham shot with his arm on the City goalline, after Ederson had twice denied the England man. After a VAR check, the City defender was shown a red card and Willian blasted emphatically into the top corner.
It was a big moment for the Brazilian, who could leave the Blues this summer, and helped Chelsea boost their Champions League qualifying hopes. But it was a far bigger moment for Liverpool supporters who celebrated outside Anfield.
After hearing the full-time whistle at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool’s players celebrated together as they claimed the club’s first-ever Premier League title
Liverpool have enjoyed a stunning season that has seen them beaten just once in the league so far – a shock 3-0 loss at struggling Watford in February – to open up an unassailable 23-point lead over Pep Guardiola’s side in second.
Their unstoppable march towards the league title was temporarily halted by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic back in March, with the Reds just two wins from glory.
Liverpool player stats – Premier League 2019/20
Most goals Mo Salah 17. Most apps Trent Alexander-Arnold 31 Most assists Trent Alexander-Arnold 12 Most shots Mo Salah 103. Most passesVirgil van Dijk 2,702. Most tackles Jordan Henderson 50
And though Merseyside rivals Everton held them to a goalless draw following the resumption of the Premier League this month, they did not have much longer to wait to rubberstamp their 2019/20 triumph.
Liverpool, who have followed up last season’s Champions League title with Premier League silverware, now stand just one behind Manchester United’s record-breaking haul of 20 top-flight titles.
Klopp’s side still have plenty to play for between now and the end of the campaign as they go in search of a whole host of records to break, including the most ever wins and points in a Premier League season, as well as the record number of points in an English league campaign.