The NBA is not only a place to test your skills on the court against some of the elites, but off the court there are a lot of other challenges. Vince Carter certainly knows the ins and outs of playing in the NBA. He says that next season will be his ‘last one’. Heading into the Atlanta Hawks training facility last September he asked both the new head coach Lloyd Pierce and general manager Travis Schlenk, “Who do you want me to talk to and what do you want me to tell them?” It was of course younger players like John Collins and Trae Young. Vince Carter is a seasoned veteran of 21 years in the game and at the age of 42, he’s the oldest in the league. He can provide great knowledge both on and off the court. He can still produce a useful 18-minute bench performance, but his general advice is useful to the younger players on the team.
It’s a unique situation, because how can you get a younger play to listen to you when he may not have been born while you’re in the league? Well, Carter has truly stepped up to the task in many ways, from play calls or even defensive coverages. You can see how he was already getting in the role during with his previous team, the Sacramento Kings. The young members, such as De’Aaron Fox, Malachi Richardson, and Skal Labissiere all took his authority and presence seriously. He’s been around since before the smartphone era, and has seen his fair share of hopeful talent fail to hit and the more obscure prospects prosper in this realm.Carter has shared some his advice with ESPN. It’s kind of like a survival guide for the young ballers. Here are some of the tips he shared:
Good Personal Hygiene
Being on the road and constantly playing out of your home team territory, you’ll be on the bus quite a bit. He goes into why taking a shower is very important. He states that guys are usually saying, “’Eh, yeah, the facility, that’s where I live.’ No, no, no, you’re in a house now, and it’s not walking distance. Go hop in the shower!” Also, that one person getting sick can lead to other members of the team coming down with the same cold. It’s important that one watches their hygiene.
Be Careful With Nightlife
Of course the players from the smaller towns may be a bit more excited to travel to the bigger cities. The temptation is there to go out and party and enjoy the city. However, rookie players should certainly make their game performance a priority. A late night could lead to a missed session lifting in the gym, a sluggish practice, and even worse, a bad game performance. They need to conserve their energy to make sure that they’re alert and in top condition in the season.
Perform Rookie Duties
Respect is certainly earned, especially when it comes to being a newbie in the professional field. There may be simple things like getting water or a towel for a veteran player. Maybe going out to dinner with the team or even sharing a laugh between teammates to build a camaraderie. Having this off-court relationship can make you more trustworthy in the long-term.
Don’t Get Discouraged When Getting a Lack of Minutes
A lot of times as a rookie player, you may get overlooked as far as minutes. Remember, they want the best players available who can not only score well but be good for the overall team. Just work on your team and work with the teams to the best of your ability. Also, you can ask the coach if you can get some more minutes. Maybe they may test you in a few different manners to see if you deserve to get more coverage in the game. Carter states, “You have to work your game, and you also have to work on your mental game — and that’s part of it.”
Be Firm With Friends and Family Asking for Money
There’s always the notion of friends and family asking for funds. Carter states when he was a rookie his guys would say, “ ‘Oh yeah, we’re going to hang out.’ No we’re not. I’m working, and if you’re coming here, that means you’re gonna work.” There’s no true formula, especially when it involves your parents, grandparents, and siblings. There might be people in your neighborhood that looked out for you and protected you. You just have to say ‘no’ sometimes. This is especially the case when they ask for some outlandish requests.
It’ll be interesting to see how things play out for the next season as he enters his last year(s) of the NBA.