June 25 (UPI) -- Eight-time All-Star selection Vince Carter is retiring from the NBA after a record 22-year career in the league.
The high-flying Carter initially announced last year -- when he signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Hawks -- the 2019-20 NBA season would be his final. But the former Slam Dunk Contest champion hadn't addressed his future since the NBA suspended its season in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The league announced earlier this month that it will resume its season with 22 teams in July at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The Hawks, who hold the fourth-worst record in the NBA, were among the eight teams that failed to qualify for the restart.
On the podcast, Carter said the abrupt ending was "tough," but he is at peace with his decision to walk away from the league.
"If there was any disappointment because of the season -- any of that -- it was kind of easier to put it aside and handle it that way," Carter said. "It's like, OK, it's something bigger than my career. ... It's unfortunate, but with the coronavirus taking people's lives rapidly, that's the big picture in my mind.
"So I was able to put the weird ending -- the abrupt stoppage of play, to an ending -- aside for the bigger picture."
Carter ranks 19th all-time in NBA history in scoring and was the league's Rookie of the Year in 1999. He averaged 16.7 points per game in his career and enjoyed his greatest success with the Raptors and Nets.
Earlier this year, Carter became the first NBA player to appear in at least one game in four different decades. His 22 seasons in the league -- spent with eight different teams -- are the most in history.
"Vince Carter has made an indelible impact on the NBA with his remarkable skill and enduring commitment," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "For a record 22 seasons, he played with pure joy and created so many memorable moments as an eight-time All-Star, a Slam Dunk champion and an Olympic gold medalist.
"We congratulate Vince on a storied career and thank him for being a true ambassador of the game."