New York (AFP) - Vince Carter is set to make NBA history this season after signing with the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, the 42-year-old swingman set for his record 22nd league campaign.
Carter will become the first NBA player to compete in 22 seasons when he takes the court for the first time for the Hawks and his first appearance in a game in 2020 will make him the first player to compete in four different decades.
Among active NBA players, Carter leads with 1,481 games played. That's fifth on the all-time list, 130 shy of matching Robert Parish's career record and 79 behind second-place Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Only Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has more baskets or minutes played among active NBA players than Carter's 9,186 hoops and 45,491 minutes. He also ranks third among active players in 3-point baskets with 2,229 after Golden State's Stephen Curry and Milwaukee's Kyle Korver.
Carter was the 1999 NBA Rookie of the Year with the Toronto Raptors after being the fifth pick overall in the 1998 NBA Draft. He made eight consecutive NBA All-Star squads from 2000-2007.
Dubbed "Air Canada" in his early days for his high-leaping acrobatic dunks, he helped the 2000 US Olympic capture gold at the Sydney Olympics.
Carter, who turns 43 in January, has played mostly a reserve role in recent seasons, making nine starts in 76 appearances for the Hawks last season, when he averaged 7.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists a game.
Over his 21-season career with Atlanta, Toronto, New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis and Sacramento, Carter has averaged 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 steals a game.
The only other NBA players who have been in the league for 21 seasons are Parish, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Willis and Germany's Dirk Nowitzki.