MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A couple of living, breathing fossils who roamed the earth with the T-Rex and the raptor were spotted Friday night at FedEx Forum.
The Jurassic Period is alive and well, and not just with those dinosaur movies, as Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter provided undeniable proof.
These guys are NBA treasures, two of the all-time greats and they both had big roles in the Memphis Grizzlies’ 99-90 win over the Mavericks, which was essentially booted away by the Mavs in the second quarter when they pulled a terrible no-show.
“I told Vince during the game there were enough guys out here to have a hell of a legends game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “The fact these guys are still getting it done is a great compliment to them.”
On a night when neither of them had their shots going, they still impacted the game. Carter grabbed two important rebounds down the stretch and also had a block on Nowitzki.
All Nowitzki did was pile up 13 points and 12 rebounds. And he tipped his cap to Carter afterward.
“I’m happy for him. I think he’s coming back next year. He’s still moving well and still a threat from deep and finish above the rim. He’s a great guy and has had an amazing career.”
Nowitzki, who will turn 39 on June 19, continues to defy Father Time. No, he can’t move defensively, but he still gets his share of strips and has been a good scorer for the past month. He’s the fifth-oldest player in the NBA.
Carter turned 40 on Jan. 26. He’s the oldest player in the league and has topped 20 points twice in the last 10 games.
What these players are doing at their advanced age is not to be taken for granted.
Nowitzki passed 30,000 points and has averaged 16 points, 7.3 rebounds and shot 39-percent from 3-point range since March 1.
Carter has started the last 10 has had two 20-point games. Only five other players have had 20-point games at age 40 or older: John Stockton, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Robert Parish and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Not a bad list to join.
And at 40, Carter remains an electric athlete, Carlisle said, if not as dynamic as he was back when he was Vinsanity.
“I think Vince could do anything he wants as long as he’s healthy,” Carlisle said. “I saw him play in Dirk’s baseball game one year and he looked like Paul Blair in centerfield. He had an unbelievable arm, he swung the bat like (Ken) Griffey Jr., and the guy is an amazing athlete and a great person, too.”
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