Celtics gift Vince Carter framed photo of first NBA bucket in final trip to TD Garden

Yahoo Sports

This season has been one full of trips down memory lane for Vince Carter, the longtime NBA guard who is planning to retire after 22 seasons in the league at the end of the year.

Yet on Friday night in his final trip to TD Garden in Boston, the Celtics hooked the Atlanta Hawks guard up with a special memento from his early days in the league.

Boston gifted Carter a framed photo of his first ever made basket in the NBA — a baseline jumper over Paul Pierce in 1999 — with an old piece of the floor from the old Boston Garden.

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“That was great,” Carter said after the Hawks’ 112-107 loss to the Celtics on Friday night, via ESPN. “Every city I’ve gone to so far, they’ve had a nice video or something and I have a nice memory of my time there. This was the same.

“I think about my first game, my first point here, and to get that picture … that was my first point here, that picture. So it was pretty cool, and obviously that’s history at the bottom of that picture that I’m very appreciative of. I know what basketball means to this city, amongst other sports, so it was great.”

That shot on Feb. 5, 1999, was Carter’s first ever attempted shot in an NBA game, too. He made his debut that year with the Toronto Raptors, after a lockout that shortened the season to just 50 games, and sunk the shot midway through the period.

“It was my first shot,” Carter said, via ESPN. “I remember excitement, [being] overly excited. But it all happened so fast. Everything happened so fast. It was like a couple days of camp, two preseason games against the same team and then opening night against the same team.”

Carter has scored more than 25,600 points since that first bucket more than two decades ago, and amassed countless accolades while playing for eight different teams across the league. 

Still, though, the 43-year-old hasn’t forgotten what was going through his head before that first shot.

“Just don’t shoot the ball over the goal,” Carter said laughing, via ESPN. “From the nerves and excitement, I didn’t want to shoot a 3. I remember driving to try to get as close as I can, and I remember I shot that baseline floater like that, and it went in and I was like, ‘Alright, we can play now.’” 

Vince Carter of the Atlanta Hawks enters the game during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Friday, his final game in the city. (Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Vince Carter of the Atlanta Hawks enters the game during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Friday, his final game in the city. (Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

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