NBA stars Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki reveal how they managed to stay healthy for a long period of time.

Next season, Carter will become the first player in league history to have played in 22 seasons. Coming into 2020, Carter will become the first player in the NBA to play in four separate decades.

But what did Carter actually do to be able to outlast his NBA peers? In an interview with GQ, Carter revealed in his own words, how he managed to stay fit for almost four decades in the league.

According to Carter, it is very important to listen to your body. Whenever he feels like his body is telling him he needs to rest, he always makes sure he gets enough sleep.

“My mindset would be "I’m young, I can ice and keep going." Now, it’s more important for me to understand what they’re telling me about my body. So, if my legs are heavy, that’s my body telling me I need more sleep or to stretch ,” Carter explained.

More importantly, the 42-year-old NBA star pointed out that a healthy diet significantly affects an ageing athlete’s performance. For Carter’s diet, he said that he eats more greens and pasta and has been doing his best not to eat fried foods.

“I try to eat lots of vegetables and greens. I like foods that fuel. I’m a sweater, so I prefer pasta for my pre-game meals most of the time. I don’t drink soda because I lose so much [fluid] when I play that I need to replenish. I don’t really eat as much fried food as I would have when I was younger because my body can’t shed it as fast,” Carter revealed.

Vince Carter
Vince Carter is hoping to play one more season in the NBA before retiring. Here, Carter speaks during a press conference after being awarded the 2015-16 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award at Quicken Loans Arena on June 8, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Aside from Carter, another NBA star stayed in the league for a long period of time. Newly retired Nowitzki also revealed that he managed to stay disciplined in terms of what he eats during his active years in the NBA. But now that he is officially retired, he indulges himself with all the food he likes to eat, reported.

“It’s been a blast. It’s been everything I’ve dreamed of, drinking everything and eating everything in sight on vacation and not really worrying about anything about staying in shape,” Nowitzki stated.

But unlike Carter, Nowitzki has no plans of getting back in shape at this point.

“I think, like I said, eventually I’m going to find a little routine, I’m going to start working out again and enjoying that. But as of now I literally have zero motivation to go work out,” Nowitzki revealed.

Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki announced his retirement after 21 seasons in the NBA. In this picture, Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after announcing he played his last home game at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, April 9, 2019. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images