Oldest active NBA player entering 2021-22 and in league history originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
They say age is just a number, but that number is way too important if you are an NBA player.
Few players are able to stay in their forties. There’s no Tom brady Where Zdeno Chara in the NBA because legends rarely play in their mid-forties. The current crop of older NBA players is actually relatively young, with a few aging superstars topping the list.
Here are some of the oldest NBA players entering the 2021-22 season and in league history:
Who is the oldest active player in the NBA?
1. Udonis Haslem, 41 years old
Recalled from his days as an executor on the Big 3 Miami Heat in the early 2010s, Udonis Haslem still plays for the Heat. He’s been with Miami since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2003, making him the longest-serving player in franchise history.
Haslem has only played 45 games combined in the past five years, as he primarily serves as an assistant coach at this point in his career. He appeared in a game last season, playing three minutes before being sent off for fighting with the former Philadelphia 76ers center Dwight Howard.
2. André Iguodala, 37 years old
The 2015 NBA Finals MVP continues to rebound in the league, joining the Golden State Warriors for the 2021-22 season after two years with the Heat. Andre Iguodala began his career in 2004 with the Sixers, playing eight seasons in Philly before one year with the Denver Nuggets and six with the Warriors.
Three-time champion, two-time All-Defense and one-time All-Star, Iggy averages 11.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 1,192 career regular-season games. He will contribute as a veteran of the bench for the Warriors in 2021, but he will be 38 in January.
3. Carmelo Anthony, 37 years old
Just a few years ago, it seemed unlikely that Carmelo Anthony would join this list. The No.3 pick in the 2003 heavy draft, Anthony spent his first 14 seasons with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks. After a disappointing 2017-18 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Anthony joined James Harden’s Houston Rockets for 2018. He only played 10 games before the team asked him not to return, and he appeared to be exiled from the league.
The Portland Trail Blazers took his chances with an unsecured deal in 2019 and he rebuilt his value as a reputable player. Now with the Los Angeles Lakers, Anthony is chasing his first title after averaging 23.0 points per game in his first 18 seasons.
4. LeBron James, 36
As LeBron James continues to complete his CV as one of the best players of all time, he continues to climb the list of the oldest active players in the NBA. James’ accolades over 18 NBA seasons are remarkable – 17 All-Star appearances, 17 All-NBA offerings, six All-Defensive teams, four MVPs, four titles and four playoff MVPs. He’s also on his way to becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, just 3,020 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The only thing King James is playing for these days is more championships. In 18 years with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, James has averaged 27.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 1,310 regular season games. He also played 266 playoff games, more than any other player in league history. Maybe it’s time for James, who turns 37 in December, to start cutting back on the regular season to save his body for the playoffs after sustaining major injuries in two of the past three seasons.
5. Paul Millsap, 36
A 2006 second-round pick, Paul Millsap has exceeded all expectations throughout his 15-year career. His first seven seasons with the Utah Jazz were solid, as he developed into a top striker. That all changed when he signed with the Atlanta Hawks in 2013. He was an All-Star every year he played for the Hawks, averaging 17.4 points and 8.3 rebounds over four seasons.
Millsap’s emergence with the Hawks paid off when he signed a three-year, $ 90 million contract with the Denver Nuggets in 2017. He has never had the same success in four seasons with Denver, passing. to a supporting role. This offseason, Millsap joined the Brooklyn Nets for a year as he seeks his first championship.
Who is the oldest NBA player of all time?
1. Nat Hickey, 45
The oldest NBA player of all time dates back to 1948. Nat Hickey coached the Providence Steamrollers during the 1947-48 season, but moved to the active roster after the team made a start 4-25. He only played two games just before his 46th birthday, scoring a total of two points, committing five fouls and shooting a combined 0 for 6 from the field in two losses.
The numbers are ugly, but just by stepping on the floor Hickey set a record that still stands over 73 years later.
2. Kevin Willis, 44 years old
Unlike Hickey, Kevin Willis had a long career in the NBA before retiring at the age of 44 in 2007. Willis’ career began in 1984 when the Atlanta Hawks selected him 11th overall. . He remained in Atlanta until 1994, averaging 14.1 points and 9.7 rebounds over 11 seasons. In 1992, Willis was named in his only All-Star game after averaging 18.3 points and 15.5 rebounds that season.
After being traded to the Heat in 1994, Willis spent the second half of his career rebounding as a solid role player. He went on to play for the Warriors, Houston Rockets (twice), Toronto Raptors, Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, Hawks (again) and Dallas Mavericks. Willis won a title with Spurs in 2003, averaging 2.6 points off the bench in 18 playoff games at the age of 40.
3. Robert Parish, 43 years old
Robert Parish played at an older age than any NBA player who made the Basketball Hall of Fame, retiring in 1997 just before his 44th birthday. The Chief began his career with the Warriors, playing four seasons at The Bay before being traded to Boston Celtics. Parish spent the next 14 seasons in Boston, winning three titles and 14 times named All-Star. Along with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale, Parish helped form one of the first “Big 3” in NBA history.
Parish’s last three NBA seasons have been spent in reinforcement. He played with the Charlotte Hornets behind Alonzo Mourning for two years, then ended his career in 1996-97 playing with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the Chicago Bulls. He only made two playoff games at the age of 43, but the Bulls won the NBA Finals and Parish received his fourth ring before officially retiring that summer. Parish is the oldest player to win a championship.
4. Vince Carter, 43 years old
Vinsanity. Half man, half incredible. Air Canada.
Throughout his 22-year career, Vince Carter has undergone many transformations. Carter shone with the Raptors in his early years, with iconic moments from the Slam Dunk Contest and the 2000 Sydney Olympics. After a messy exit from Toronto and a subsequent trade with the New Jersey-era Nets, he slowly went from being a superstar to being a role player.
Carter spent time with the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Kings of Sacramento and Atlanta Hawks before finally retiring in 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic looming, Carter entered what would be his last game in March 2020 and buried a 3-pointer on the final possession of the Hawks loss. He is likely to join Parish at the Basketball Hall of Fame once he is eligible.
5. Dikembe Mutombo, 43 years old
Before starring in an unforgettable commercial, Dikembe Mutombo was an NBA Hall of Fame player. He was drafted No. 4 by the Nuggets in 1991, playing five seasons in Denver before signing with the Hawks in 1996. In nine full seasons with the Nuggets and Hawks, Mutombo averaged 12.7 points, 12, 3 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game while winning Defensive Player of the Year four times.
Mutombo was traded to the Sixers in 2001, joining the team just in time for their run to the 2001 NBA Finals. His game dropped dramatically in the following years due to injury and age. The final years of Mutombo’s career were spent with the Nets, Knicks and Rockets before retiring in 2009 at age 43. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.