The NBA’s decision to resume inside a “bubble” in Orlando means that the season is now officially over for some of the league’s worst teams, who weren’t invited to take part. That includes the Atlanta Hawks, likely bringing a bizarre end to the career of veteran star Vince Carter, who was the last active player to have appeared on a basketball game on the Nintendo 64.
Carter, who is 43, was drafted back in 1998, and earlier this year became the first player in history to play across four decades. That’s more than enough to spell out just how enduring his career has been, but for non-sports fans maybe the fact he managed to appear in basketball games ranging from the Nintendo 64 through to the Nintendo Switch puts his longevity in more familiar context.
What about some other old guys?
Vince Carter was the last active NBA player drafted in 1998. There’s nobody left from the 1999 or 2000 draft classes, while Houston’s 37 year-old Tyson Chandler (left), drafted in 2001, came too late for the N64 era.
Vinsanity announced last year that this would be his final season, and as the weeks dragged on during the league’s Covid shutdown he found peace in the fact that his likely last appearance on the court was knocking down a three in the final minutes of a losing game against the Knicks back in March.
His first appearance though was back in the 20th century, but despite being drafted in 1998 that season’s lockout—which forced NBA Live 99 to use the 1997-98 rosters—meant he didn’t appear in a video game until NBA Live 2000, which was released on PC, PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64 in October 1999.
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For the next 21 years, Carter would appear in everything from NBA Jam 2000 to 2K’s first outings on the Dreamcast through EA’s stumbling attempts to get NBA Live back up and running through to the modern 2K era.
This long video from Vintage Console Gaming, below, features Carter’s first ever video game appearance in NBA Live 2000 (this is the PS1 version, but the game also released on N64):
While this clip shows another 1999 game, NBA Jam 2000 (released a month after NBA Live) on the Nintendo 64:
And to see how his player model changed through the years, Video Games Evolution put together this video comparing Vince from his first 2K appearance on the Dreamcast through to more recent times:
He didn’t just appear in games, either, he sometimes appeared on them. Carter was the cover star for NBA Inside Drive 2002 and later EA’s NBA Live 2004 as well:
Vince’s career highlights include eight All Star game selections, two All-NBA selections, the 1999 Rookie of the Year award, an Olympic gold medal (never forget) and victory in maybe the best dunk contest of all time.