Vince Carter and the depleted Memphis Grizzlies were swept out of the playoffs by the Spurs on Sunday, but despite their numerous injuries, the Griz never gave up. After the game, Memphis head coach Dave Joerger got emotional in his press conference — in particular when talking about how veterans like Matt Barnes and Carter kept the team focused and didn’t let them quit.
At age 39, Vinsanity is still putting in the work, and as Joerger emphasized, he took his leadership role seriously. But Carter wasn’t just a locker room leader for Memphis this season, he also had to play more minutes than he was likely expecting due to the many injuries his team faced. Although Carter is obviously nowhere near the dominant player he once was, the greatest dunker of his generation proved this season that he’s still got some legs, as evidenced by the 17 jams he threw down.
Now, 17 dunks might not sound like a lot — league leader, DeAndre Jordan, had 227 — but when you look at the other players around his age, it holds up. Dirk Nowitzki had five, Tim Duncan put down four, and former Celtics teammates and friends Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, only had one each.
On top of that, most of Carter’s dunks weren’t just minimal effort one-handed throw-downs, they were emphatic slams. Because no matter how old he is, when Vince Carter has the opportunity to dunk, he’s going to make it special.