We’ve seen a lot of “ring chasing” comments in the past few years. The tendency “the decision” started and creation of superteams got many players labeled ring chasers, just ask Kevin Durant about that.
A lot of people will say that after time has passed, narrative fades and rings remain. When you look at Hall of Fame inductions or any other kind of recognition, rings, all-star appearances, and individual awards are always first to be named. They can often be misleading. John Wall, a 5x All-Star is not better than Mike Conley, who was never an All-Star – he just had the fortune of playing in the East.
Still, players like Elgin Baylor or George Gervin will consistently be underappreciated because they never won a championship. A player who is likely to wind up on that frustrating “best players that never won” list is Vince Carter. At age 42 he is in his 21st NBA season and was recently asked about joining a team that could help him get a ring. Here’s what Vince said:
Of course, I want a ring like any other player. How I go about, it is just something that’s been instilled in me for..since I’ve gotten in this league. … It’s easy to sit at the end of the bench and see your teammates play and win you a championship, but for me, I’d feel like internally, I’m dying inside.
This is just a reminder that we can’t make judgments on players and their impact just on pure numbers. Vince made an honorable decision that if he didn’t contribute to a ring, he wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. As he said, he’d be “a grumpy old man.” Every player contributes to a team sport; this is not to say role players are “fake” or undeserving. But going to a team just to be the 14th guy on the depth chart and getting a ring..that’s not a classy move.
Vince Carter is.