Doug Christie remembers the first time he met a rookie from North Carolina named Vince Carter prior to the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.

Christie was playing for the Toronto Raptors and Carter joined the veterans at Air Canada Centre for a workout.

“We played some three-on-three and he was open to asking questions and getting information,” Christie said.

Carter, it turned out, always welcomed advice. He soaked up a lot of it on his way to winning Rookie of the Year. Carter has remained inquisitive throughout a career that will almost certainly land him in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. But entering his 20th season, he’s also answering questions the same way Christie, Charles Oakley, Dee Brown and Kevin Willis did for him.

Christie had played with Hall of Famers James Worthy and Patrick Ewing. Charles Oakley played with Ewing and Michael Jordan. Dee Brown had been a teammate of Larry Bird, and Willis played with Dominique Wilkins.

“They all played with superstars ... prior to being on that team in Toronto. They’d all been around superstars and watching them do their thing,” Carter said. “So it was easy to go sit with them and talk to them and learn the preparation of the game and how to be a pro, to prep each and every night for my matchup. And I felt comfortable as a player immediately. Of course I was thrown into the fire but my preparation helped slow things down.”