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A win for longevity: Vince Carter passes Larry Bird on all-time scoring list

Feb 14, 2013, 10:57 AM EDT

Last night a 36-year-old Vince Carter channeled the version of himself from 12 years ago (if that younger self was a better three-point shooter) and dominated the key stretch of the Mavericks win over the Kings. Carter scored 17 points in the third quarter with a barrage of threes, going 5-of-7 from deep in the period. Carter finished with 26 points on the night.

And during that barrage Carter moved past Larry Bird to move into 29th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Carter now has 21,796 points for his career.

This is a tribute to longevity — Bird was a better player than Carter but he played a couple fewer seasons than Carter (and Bird’s last seasons he didn’t play as much as he battled back injuries).

But Carter, for all his flaws, could always score the rock. First as an explosive dunking machine that spawned “Vinsanity” and now as a role player who can still have some big nights (he’s got a PER of 21 this season).

We need to give Carter a nod for that, he’s been a good player in this league for a long time. And this is a sign of that.

  1. cjispro - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Did you see VVVVVVVVVVVVVCCCCCCCCCCCC? Love this guy. I hope he is a first ballot HOFer when he hangs up the kicks.

    • nolanwiffle - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      The basketball Hall of Fame? Not happening, but keep hope alive.

  2. miamatt - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Good for Vince. I love that NBA players can have such long careers, and I don’t care if they keep at it for years past their prime. The original Vin-sanity is still capable of contributing to a team, and I for one am glad he’s still around.

  3. scalfor3 - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Man, Bird’s numbers are even more impressive when you consider that his injuries kicked right after a 29, 9 and 6 a game season.

  4. nygdriveforfive - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Unreached potential, no heart, and quitting on his team will be Vc legacy. He could have been so much more but didn’t want to work to achieve it. Not even close to a Hofer. Happy Valentine’s day!

  5. michaeljordanseviltwin - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    I created a theory that Vince Carter only ever scores 25 points when he gets hot from 3 and it’s exactly right. He won’t score 25 points without hitting at least 4 three pointers. One of the most physically talented guys in NBA history and he’s scared to go into the paint. Very disappointing career.

    • zerole00 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      Going into the paint lessens a player’s durability over the years.

  6. themagicfanguy - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Ignorant posters… Carter will be in the HOF, deal with it. People like you say he has no heart, disappointing career, etc. yet not a single one of you has achieved a tenth of his success, and NONE of you are qualified to judge his career. How many THOUSANDS of players have been in the NBA? Well he’s a better scorer than almost all of them. Talk smack all you want, he’ll be in the HOF in a few years no matter what you say or think.

    • bougin89 - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      I think Vince Carter will make the hall of fame because the basketball hall of fame is by far the easiest to get into of the major sports. If he doesn’t make it though, you could justify that decision as well. Vince Carter was an exciting player to watch with his awesome athletic ability but nobody would be fooled into thinking he was a truly dominant player, even in his prime. He is definitely more in a league of a Jerry Stackhouse rather than someone like a Tracy McGrady.

    • nolanwiffle - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      Dude, actually we are qualified to judge his career. It’s called having an opinion… a comments section…..of a blog….about basketball. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.

      That being said, Vince Carter is not a Hall of Famer.

      • dacapt704 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        LOL!! +1

        I’d also like to add that people often confuse the Hall of Fame with the Hall of Pretty Good. We are talking about legends of the game, not highlight reel players. In 20 years VC will only be known for his dunks (much the way we talk about Shawn Kemp), not for overall game or contribution to it.

      • bougin89 - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:39 PM

        @dacapt704…The basketball hall of fame is pretty close to a hall of pretty good. It’s by far the easiest. If it were truly only legends of the game Vince Carter would not have a chance, I agree, but the basketball hall of fame isn’t reserved for legends only.

    • dexterismyhero - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      No he won’t you ignorant poster. And yes I have achieved a lot of success. Obviously you haven’t so in the words of all the internet tough guys out there, go back to your mommy’s basement.

      There how’s that themagicfanBOY!!!!!!

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:47 PM

        If Dexter is your hero…

    • genericcommenter - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      Well, basketball-reference gives him a 78.1% probability. So you are closer than people saying he has no chance.

      I would say, regardless of your opinion of him, it’s going to be hard to deny a guy who has career averages of 21/5/4 and will have over 22,000 points, 4000 assists, 5000 boards while being a multi-dimensional player. Let me know if any non-HOFers have hit those marks.

      Last year people on this site were crying when another longevity stat-compiler guy who averaged only 18/3/3 didn’t get in on first ballot.

      There’s another guy people hate who “has no chance” who is going to end-up with over 20,000 points and 10,000 boards, most likely. Of course I pointed out that I dont think anyone has been kept out of the HOF with those numbers, and the people who deny that have nothing to back up their opinions.

  7. Confused Knicks Fan - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Vince Carter may not be a first ballot HOF but better believe he’s gonna get in all it takes is to show some kind of longevity or success to get in. More than 20,000 points and you don’t think he’ll get in just look at Chris Mullin no rings but multiple all star games alot of points. If you deserve it the HOF will find you

  8. cantonbound13 - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    I bet there are Heat fans that will say he was better than Larry because they didn’t see Larry play.

    • canyoufeeltheHEAT - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      Really… why would heat fans think vince carter is a better player than a 3x champion, 3x MVP, 12x all-star and all around defensive MASTER! Just cause we got LeBron doesn’t mean we just started watching basketball. I can see that you hate heat fans but we do know basketball. I only ask that you not be so quick to judge people.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:49 PM

        Canton not judge is like…BBQ without the Q. New Yawk.

    • heat256 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      And I bet dumber than rocks Knicks fans like you are waiting 3 years so they can sign him to a five year deal.

  9. zblott - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Any reasonable fan recognizes that Vince scoring more career points than Bird has nothing to do with which one had the better career, yet in a year or two people will absolutely lose their s**t when Kobe passes MJ.

  10. nygdriveforfive - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Yes Vince made the NBA and I did not. Thank you.

  11. michaeljordanseviltwin - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Basketball-reference gives Vince a 78.1% probability of getting into the Hall of Fame. I hope he doesn’t. I don’t want guys in the hall who have never had a relevant playoff moment.

  12. nygdriveforfive - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Every guy ahead of him on the list achieved more with far less “god” given talent then vc. The point is he should be much higher on the list then he is.

  13. canyoufeeltheHEAT - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    We do appreciate Vince’s years of entertaining plays and that’s it. that will be his legacy. nothing more. He might get into the hall of fame but not first ballot. If you don’t think he deserves it is your opinion but remember all the players that did get in and didn’t deserve it.

    Think about how he ruined the dunk contest. Nobody wants to watch it because he set the standard. Nobody has come close to being a better dunker than he was. That deserves HOF consideration.

    • nolanwiffle - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      Then he’ll be inducted the same year as Craig Hodges, who “revolutionized” the outside shot by winning three consecutive 3-point shot contests……and two NBA champuionships.

  14. theripster30 - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Thanks for making it clear LARRY BIRD was a better player than Vince Carter. Jeez. For the record, Carter has ALWAYS been decent from the three point line. He shot 40 percent from the three his second and third year in the league, and shot 42 percent in the middle of his career, before going to NJ. In Carter’s third season, he made more threes than any other in his career, so once again, you are giving your readers false info. Good job, Helin.

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      No comparison between Carter and Larry Legend. Carter, who doesn’t suck, is a slouch compared to Bird. Just sayin’!

  15. jimeejohnson - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    Canton’s actually really smart. He’s just a typical NY you-know-what: an opinionated homer who, like most NYers, know basketball. They’re delusional from years of first round playoff exits AT MOST; they haven’t won an NBA championship since…the Flyers won a Stanley Cup. With Carmelo, the Knicks are a threat, but not much more, until they get past the first round of the playoffs, ok!

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