Vince Carter only spent one year in Sacramento, but he left his mark on the franchise in more ways than one.
Carter set an example of professionalism for the young Kings during the 2017-18 season, both on the court and off. Harry Giles III and De’Aaron Fox, among others, lauded Carter for teaching them how talk on defense or how to conduct themselves with the media. Carter helped make the Kings better as a basketball team, but a group of recently-drafted players benefited from his life lessons as well.
It turns out it wasn’t just the young players who heeded Carter’s example. Garrett Temple was 30 years old when he arrived in Sacramento, and 31 when he became Carter’s teammate, yet he learned as much from the newly-retired legend as anyone.
In a retrospective on Carter’s career in Complex, Temple explains what Carter taught him about being a leader on a young team:
“I remember one time, we were talking about the younger guys and he told me that everybody was different and that sometimes how you talk to one guy isn’t the way you talk to another guy in order to push them to be the best player they can be. That’s the one thing he reiterated to me, that everybody has different buttons. That has stayed with me. His professionalism and his humility are two things that stay with me the most.”
“I remember in practice, he would still just throw down a one-handed reverse-360 dunk with ease. He still probably jumped the highest on our team, which is crazy, but it’s true. [I really admire him] for the fact he adapted. He’s probably the strongest 225-pound dude you’ll ever meet. Most guys who rely on their athleticism early on, it’s tough for them to adapt and play that long, but that just goes to show you how skilled Vince was but also his work ethic and the things he did during the summer to hone his game. A lot of guys can’t be cool with being the seventh or eight guy, with being the guy coming off the bench. He did that for a long time, it wasn’t just the last few years of his career. That’s tough for a lot of superstars, but he did it.”
Since his time in Sacramento, Temple has been in Memphis, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn. Being able to communicate with younger players has been particularly handy with the Nets, who have been ravaged by injury this season and currently have nine players 25 and under on their roster. Temple has also gone on to be a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, further utilizing his skills as a leader.
Temple won’t have to make the same career transition that Carter did — he has settled in to being a glue guy for the bulk of his time in the NBA. But it’s nice to see that Temple managed to learn so much from a player whose professional arc was so different from his own, and that he can trace those lessons to his time with the Kings.