Once upon a time, Vince Carter was young. Seriously. Vince Carter was actually a rookie at one point.

At 41, Carter is the oldest active NBA player. The eight-time All-Star averaged 5.4 points with the Kings last season and refers to himself as a "free agent" with plans to play in 2018-19.

In 1998, after three years at North Carolina, Carter was selected with the No. 5 pick by the Warriors and traded on draft night to the Raptors. That same night, the Raptors parted ways with young big man Marcus Camby, bringing Charles Oakley from the Knicks.

At practice, Oakley made sure to put himself out there for the young gun. Carter was 21 and Oakley was 35. Oakley had seen the belly of the NBA beast. Carter had just left Chapel Hill.

"As a teammate, he was great," Carter says. "He was like the -- I don't want to say the mean dad -- but he's like that one mean uncle that’s cool a lot, but you know at the same time, he’s going to flip for no reason. He was like that. He was like the cool mean uncle that had a lot of knowledge. He's probably the one who would tell you about the birds and the bees before your parents get the opportunity to do so. And he'll probably set it to you straight. He's one of those guys. 

"For me, my second practice, he put his arm around me and was like 'I'm going to help you in this league and make you a star.' What are you going to tell Oakley, 'No?' So he was one of those first ones -- once I got in the facility – that kind of put his arm around me. Obviously, you listen to him because of who he is and the second part, which was more intriguing for me, is that he played alongside MJ while he was getting started and going through stardom and how he handled himself on and off the court with the media. It was very helpful, and he helped me prepare because I was guarding the Grant Hill-Detroit Pistons back in those days."

At the time, Carter and his cousin Tracy McGrady were being heralded as two of the top young talents in the league and Oakley served as both their wise guru and strict elder. The two would regularly hang out with Oakley off the court with Oakley happily cooking meals.

"He looked after us," Carter says. "We knew we were young, budding stars that had a lot to offer to the league and he looked after us. We confided in him, and he would yell at us all the time, Tracy [McGrady] and I. And to this day when he sees me, he still beats on us like we're young. I'm like, 'Bro, we're not young anymore, you can't do this, and he still does, but it's cool. But he was like a great chef, so he would have the team over. A lot of teams now, they'll have the team dinner where they'll go to a nice steakhouse. We just went to Oak's house and he would have food out for us and all that stuff."

Carter spoke to ThePostGame at the National Basketball Players Association, where he was making an appearance on behalf of Verizon. As part of the "Verizon Up" rewards program, Carter hosted a group of members for a dunk clinic on the day of the NBA Draft in New York City.

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