Vince Carter turned 40 years old 2 days ago. Carter did a cool thing on the eve of his birthday, too. He did a 360° layup...which is cool...but...it’s not Vince Carter cool. I’m not entirely convinced that he can’t still do a 360° dunk. A 360° layup is what I used to do in gym class when I was unsuccessfully trying to be Vince Carter cool. Granted, it was in traffic, in game. Here it is:
This man turns 40 tomorrow & is out here doing 360's. pic.twitter.com/qjrPGh8dWe— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) January 26, 2017
The Utah Jazz had a pretty cool 40 year old player once. Pretty cool is an understatement. John Stockton was half-man, full-amazing. It’s crazy to think there are still players in the league who played against Stockton but Carter and Stockton had 5 years of overlap. Interestingly, Carter was injured for the 2 games 40 year old Stockton played against his Raptors. Stockton, unsurprisingly, was not injured.
The last game Carter played against Stockton was on November 10, 2001 at the Delta Center (Stockton was 39). I remember this game because it was one of the few games a year I was able to attend and Carter torched the Jazz and the Jazz lost. Carter went 8 for 14 from 3 (8 threes in 2001!), finished with 43 points, and Toronto beat the Jazz by 117-96. The Jazz losing to the Raptors and the Jazz losing at home were two events that just didn’t happen very often back in the day.
When considering the twilight of their respective careers, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Stockton’s over-the-hill portion of his career was better than Carter’s will be. Stockton finished his career as a starter for the Jazz who had 2 first round exits in the playoffs against the Sacramento Kings. As a 40 and 41 year old, Stockton averaged 28 MPG, 11.5 PPG, 7.9 APG, and 1.75 SPG while shooting 50% from the field, 39% from 3, and 83% from the line. Not too shabby for an old dude. Also, while it’s not a 360°, Stockton could still throw down some pretty cool layups. Case in point (this is from a 25 point game that Stockton had when he was 40 [full highlights here]:
Vince Carter's not the only 40 year old who can do cool layups. pic.twitter.com/SfFQEYPR08— Bryce (@hoopsapprentice) January 28, 2017
Within a few years, there won’t be any players to link us back to the Stockton and Malone days. Luckily, the Jazz have a new batch of stars for us to enjoy. Go Jazz.