Vince Carter is just a couple months away from his 42nd birthday, and will welcome a much younger Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Celtics squad Friday.
But, don’t expect to see the five-time All-Star on the court well into his 40s. Irving admitted the wear and tear of the game, more off the court than on, will soon take its own toll on the guard — if it hasn’t already.
“Once I’m done with this, hopefully in my early to mid-30s, I’m done with this,” he said, via ESPN.
“I love basketball itself,” Irving added. “But everything that comes with it? It doesn’t really matter to me, in terms of my life. I enjoy the game, I enjoy being with my teammates, playing every single day.
“Being an NBA player, this is a dream I’ve had since I was a kid. I think everything else that comes with it doesn’t hold the same stature it once did.
“But I enjoy it, though. I love this game.”
Carter, who is playing in his 21st season and first with Atlanta, his third team in three years, recently hit a league milestone surpassing 25,000 career points Wednesday. Irving, 15 years Carter’s junior, also broke another point barrier last week and now has more than 10,000 career points.
But point totals and accomplishments aside, Irving wishes people would appreciate the amount of work and effort players put into their game and the stress that comes with it.
“I would say, I don’t want to go into major detail, but I would just say I wish there was sometimes more empathy in terms of what we’ve committed ourselves to doing every single day,” he said. “Putting our bodies on the line, understanding kind of the mental strain you put on just trying to be great every single day, and just literally putting the ball in the hoop better than you did yesterday.
“It comes at a price, but it’s what we all signed up (for), and it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to take for as long as possible in order to win as many championships and be as successful as I can.”
Irving, who is leading the 9-9 Celtics with 22.4 points per game, added “the love of the game should always outshine everything else that comes with the NBA lifestyle.”