Vince Carter leaves the door open to playing beyond next season

Carter is the oldest active player in the NBA

At the age of 41, Vince Carter is preparing for his 21st season as he begins life as a member of the Atlanta Hawks.

This will be the eighth different team he's represented in a career that started in 1998. 

To put into perspective just how long the veteran's been in the NBA, his new rookie teammate Trae Young wasn't born when he was drafted.

Feeling young

Carter may be the elder statesman in a league that's currently dominated by young stars but he still feels fit enough to compete.

"I know playing this game that the media and the fans and people can be cruel," he said, per ESPN.

"It's like, 'You're old and you're playing against guys half your age. You shouldn't be out here.'

Carter is not ready to call time on his career

"But then for me that is my goal, to prove that I'm able to do that. And I put in a lot of work in mentally as well as physically just preparing myself."

The eight-time All-Star is the oldest active player in the league and signed a one-year deal with the Hawks for the veteran minimum on Friday. 

'Vinsanity' is looking to go into a broadcasting career when he eventually finishes playing and being in Atlanta, the home of NBA TV and Turner Sports, appears to be the right place for him to be. 

He's made several appearances on the network in recent years and can surely walk into a role as an analyst when he calls time on his career. 

Carter is hoping to go into the media when he retires

Leaving the door open

But it's still unclear when that time will come as Carter refuses to rule out the possibility of continuing after next season. 

"Every year, I gauge it at how I feel at the end of the year," he said, per The Athletic's Chris Kirschner. "The problem is I feel pretty darn good at the end of every year."

The 1999 Rookie of the Year says he still has the same drive as he did in his heyday when he was a highlight dunking machine. 

"Yeah, I'm still the same person," said Carter. "My approach is still the same. My work ethic, my ability to play the game is still the same.

"Obviously it's limited. You just don't get to see it as much, but it's the same guy."

If he still feels this good in 12 months' time, year 21 may not necessarily be the end for Carter.

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