How Vince Carter became the NBA’s go-to mentor for young players

“He made a push for [a title] when he was in his prime, and it just didn’t happen,” reflects Willis, who won a ring with San Antonio in 2003, when he was 40. “You gotta give a guy respect, because he didn’t go jump on the Warriors team or anything like that. Any team that was willing to give him an opportunity to play for them, he took it. He didn’t say, ‘Well, nah, I don’t feel like going through this rebuild stage, been-there-done-that,’ type of thing. He says, ‘Hey, this is a great opportunity, they want me to come and play in their organization.’”

Whenever Willis catches a Hawks game, he makes sure to speak with Carter, either before or after the contest. Seeing the player who he helped shepherd into the NBA makes the 56-year-old feel young again. “You look up and time just flies by,” he says. “I remember when he was a rookie … Vince would call me ‘OG.’ I was like, ‘If you’re lucky, you’re going to be in the same spot one day.’ And when I see him now, I kind of tease him and say, ‘You are where I was 20 years ago.’

“He’s the OG now.”

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Post Author: HockeyHawk