This may be the last season for Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwyane Wade
In the NBA, approximately 60 new players ply their trade via the NBA Rookie Draft. Every year, several veteran players call it quits. Some of those retirees disappear, without much fanfare, while others remind us of some of the greatest moments, in NBA history. This season, there are three such players. From great plays to NBA titles won, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwyane Wade have left us with a lifetime of unforgettable memories.
While he has not declared or announced retirement plans yet, Vince Carter is 41 years old and in his 21st season. A 6’6 small forward/shooting guard there is not much Vince Carter has not accomplished, in his NBA career. He has not won an NBA title, but his resume, of greatness, is long. He currently sits 22nd overall, on the all-time NBA scorers list, and isn’t far away from moving two or three spots higher, by the end of this season. He was a rookie of the year, in 1999, he has won the slam dunk contest in 2000, he is an Olympic gold medalist for the USA, at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and he is an 8 time NBA All-star. Perhaps his greatest accomplishments are related to his athleticism.
At the Sydney Olympics, Carter quite literally lept over a vertical 7’0 foot center, Frederic Weis, of France, for a dunk, off of a steal. Also, in 2000 at the NBA All-Star weekend, he dazzled and excited the crowd with some of the most jaw-dropping dunks, in the slam dunk contest, which he won. Many will remember the dunk where he hung from the rim elbow deep, his arm through the hoop. The man had hops and was dubbed “half man half amazing” during his time, with the Toronto Raptors.
During his 21-year career Cater has played for the Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and now the Atlanta Hawks. Carter’s highest scoring average was 27.6 per game, when he played, with the Toronto Raptors back, in 2000-2001. His career average is 17.7 points per game. He has made 11 appearances in the NBA Playoffs for five different teams playing in 88 games, with a playoff scoring average of 18.1 points per game. Vince Carter has had a splendid career even without an NBA title to brag about. He did single-handedly raise the profile of basketball, in Canada, so he has left a permanent positive mark, in the world, of basketball.
Originally drafted, in 1998, by the Milwaukee Bucks. Nowitzki, was dealt, on draft day, along with Steve Nash, to the Dallas Mavericks. Twenty-one years later, like Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki has left a legacy, in the game of basketball. A 7 footer originally, from Germany, Nowitzki brought a blend of passing and long-range shooting not usually expected, of big men, in the NBA. Nowitzki sports career averages of 21.2 points per game, 7.7 rebounds per game and a very good 38.3% from three-point range. Nowitzki, in many ways, is the precursor to forwards like Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis, centers with a complete skill set.
Nowitzki’s resume is highly decorated. His Mavericks were NBA Champions in 2011 beating the LeBron James led Miami Heat, in a six-game series, 4-2. Nowitzki was the NBA Finals MVP in 2011. He was also the NBA’s MVP in 2007. Nowitzki was an NBA all-star from 2002-2012 and, in 2014 and 2015. He also won a three-point shootout competition at the 2006 all-star event. Like Vince Carter, Nowitzki has not announced his retirement, but he is 40 years old. In the summer of 2017, Nowitzki signed a two year deal for $10 million dollars with this season being a team option. Dallas exercised the team option. Nowitzki is out of contract at the end of this season.
Dwyane Wade was drafted back, in 2003, in what was a talent loaded draft. He was selected 5th that year behind players like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh. He has spent the majority of his career perfecting a great mid-range game and his nickname flash was appropriate, as he was quick and fast, flashing his way to the basket, on drives. Dwayne Wade is a three-time NBA Champion all with the Miami Heat (2006, 2012 and 2013).
His honors also include being NBA Finals MVP in 2006, a 12 time all-star from 2005-2016, an all-star game MVP in 2010 and NBA scoring champion in 2009. Internationally Wade was a member of the USA men’s team that won bronze at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Wade has played in 177 playoff games with 22.3 points per game average. His career averages include 22.5 points per game and 5.5 assists per game. He is currently in his 16th year and Wade has every intention of retiring, at the end, of this season.
Dwyane Wade, Vince Carter, and Dirk Nowitzki are three of the greatest players over the last two decades, of NBA basketball. In their own way, each has left us with many enjoyable moments. There will be new stars to provide new moments of greatness. Players like Trae Young or Luka Doncic are poised to entertain us for years to come. However, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwyane Wade will never be forgotten.