I used to watch his highlights and that dunk hadn’t been done in awhile so I figured why not. —Donovan Mitchell
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Vince Carter was flattered that Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell paid homage to him by donning a Toronto Raptors jersey and repeating Carter’s winning dunk from the 2000 contest on his way to the 2018 Slam Dunk title.
But Carter didn’t want to talk to the media about it before he had a chance to talk to Mitchell Saturday night.
Carter is still in the NBA, playing his 20th season at the age of 41, and he was asked by one local reporter and one from Utah about Mitchell’s dunk, and his answer was the same.
“I’m not telling nobody until I talk to him,” Carter said. He was smiling when he said it, so it wasn’t like he was going to get mad at Mitchell for copying his dunk. He just wanted to talk to the Utah rookie first (because of deadlines, we weren’t able to get a comment from Carter after the game).
Mitchell did confirm after the game, that he and Carter had a good conversation before the game and that Carter was very “nice.”
Before Saturday, Mitchell said the only interaction he ever had with Carter came before a game here in January when they joked about Carter trying a halfcourt shot during pregame warmups. He also spoke with him briefly at the NBA Draft last summer.
“At the draft — he didn’t know who I was at the time — he told us to impact the game in any way you can and leave your own legacy and about working hard and not partying and doing things that get people in trouble. I took that to heart.”
Mitchell reiterated why he paid tribute to Carter in the dunk contest.
“I’ve been a dunker for longer than I’ve been a basketball player,” he said. “I used to watch his highlights and that dunk hadn’t been done in awhile so I figured why not. With everything he’s been doing this year at age 41 dunking and all that, it’s incredible.”
Carter, who earlier this week passed former Jazz star John Stockton to become the eighth oldest player to play in the NBA at 41 years and 36 days, was the first King off the bench, coming in at the 5:33 mark of the first quarter. He finished with six points on 2-of-8 shooting in 25 minutes
JAZZ NOTES: After averaging 18 turnovers per game since the All-Star break, the Jazz only had four in the first half and 13 for the game Former Jazzman Kosta Koufos (2008-10) started the game and finished with eight points and seven rebounds The Jazz will be back home for a game against Orlando Monday night and will have games every other night through March 17 when they play Sacramento again, at home Rudy Gobert surpassed 3,000th rebounds half and because the 12th Jazz player to hit that milestone In the only other meeting between the Kings and Jazz this year, Utah took a 120-105 victory in Sacramento on Jan. 15.