Dominique Wilkins is as impressed as anyone by Vince Carter‘s endurance in the NBA.
In an interview with Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair, the Atlanta Hawks hall of famer and VP of Basketball Operations highlighted Carter’s commitment to the game and his importance to the new generation of Hawks players.
“I’m surprised how long he’s played,” Wilkins said on The Jeff Blair Show. “It’s pretty amazing.”
The former Toronto Raptors star is currently in his 23rd NBA season after signing a one-year deal with the Hawks over the summer. With his years of experience, Carter has notably taken on a mentorship role in the locker room in the twilight of his career.
“Vince has been a great inspiration for this team,” Wilkins said. “For young guys who are trying to really learn how to play the game, to have a guy like Vince around has been a blessing, because he can give a real insight on how they should conduct themselves, how they should prepare themselves to play.”
Known in his playing days as “The Human Highlight Film,” Wilkins gained major notoriety for his athletic dunks, and to this day is considered one of the best dunkers of all time — something he shares with Carter. The hall of famer played 16 years in the NBA, between 1982 and 1999.
Even though he was known for his strength, Wilkins added that the fundamentals of basketball are ultimately more important than athleticism in building a solid career.
“Guys like Vince, like (Michael) Jordan, Magic (Johnson), a lot of these guys, like myself … It’s a blessing to have both skill sets,” Wilkins said. “That’s the thing that you have to work on, is becoming fundamentally sound, because it’ll still make you a great basketball player even though you may not be a super-athlete.”
The 41-year-old Carter is averaging 7.3 points per game and 2.9 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per night with the Hawks this season. He and the Hawks face the Raptors on Tuesday night in Toronto.