For a league that's all about the numbers, one number seemingly doesn't matter much these days in the NBA – age. We've seen several veterans impact proceedings to a large extent, even in the ongoing 2020-21 season.
Whether it's the 35-year-old Chris Paul leading the Phoenix Suns to the top of the Western Conference or the 36-year-old LeBron James being the best player in the association, players are operating at a high level well into their thirties.
Oldest NBA players to average 30 points per game
Even then, one particular trait has seemed to evade the biggest of stars as they grow older, and that's scoring at a very high volume. Some of the greatest scorers in NBA history have failed to average 30 points per game late into their careers.
That wasn't the case for these five players, who didn't let age get in the way of their offensive prowess. On that accord, let's look at the five oldest players to average 30 points per game in a season.
(Note: Player ages at the start of the said season have been considered for this list)
#5 Allen Iverson (2005-06 season) - 30 years
Allen Iverson was at the peak of his powers heading into the 2005-06 season. He had led the league in scoring the previous year and still had a lot of gas left in the tank.
Iverson was leading a rather mediocre Philadelphia 76ers team and ended up playing the most minutes in the league that year. Almost everything ran through The Answer on offense and he ended up averaging 33 points per game, his career-best.
That wasn't good enough to win the scoring title that year, as Kobe Bryant was also on a tear and averaged 35.4 points per game. Iverson was unable to lead the Sixers to the NBA Playoffs either as they finished with the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference.
#4 James Harden (2019-20 season) - 30 years
After coming up short in another playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, James Harden entered the 2019-20 season needing to prove a point. He had just been reunited with Russell Westbrook, too.
Harden had a slow start to the campaign but he eventually went on a juggernaut. He scored 60 points in 31 minutes against the Atlanta Hawks. He had 21 games that season where he scored 40 or more points.
James Harden's exploits allowed him to average 34.3 points per game and lead the NBA in scoring for a third consecutive year.
#3 Jerry West (1969-70 season) - 31 years
By the end of 1969, Jerry West had already spent a decade in the league and lost six NBA Finals series to arch-rivals Boston Celtics. He had also become the become the only losing player in league history to have been awarded the NBA Finals MVP honors.
Jerry West poured all of his exasperation into his performances during the 1969-70 season. He ended up averaging 31.2 points per game and was the only player to cross the 30-point threshold that year.
West would lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals again that year, where they faced the New York Knicks for a change, but the Purple and Gold ended up on the losing side again.
#2 Michael Jordan (1995-96 season) - 32 years
The 1995-96 season was the first full campaign for Michael Jordan following his return from retirement. His Airness used the offseason to improve his conditioning. Meanwhile, the disappointment of getting knocked out in the second round of the 1995 NBA Playoffs fueled Jordan.
Not only did MJ excel individually that year, but the Chicago Bulls were also literally unstoppable. Phil Jackson's men went on to win 72 games in the regular season, a record that stood for 20 years before the Golden State Warriors bettered it during the 2015-16 season.
Jordan finished with 30.4 points per game and led the NBA in scoring once again. The Chicago Bulls also went on to lift their fourth championship in franchise history.
#1 Stephen Curry (2020-21 season) - 32 years
The current 2020-21 NBA season is not yet over, but Stephen Curry is well on his way to averaging 30 points per game this season. His current average stands at 31.3 points and he needs to score roughly 200 points from the remaining nine games to confirm this feat.
The Golden State Warriors have been largely underwhelming this season, but it's Curry's shooting that has kept them in the running for the NBA Playoffs. He scored 30 or more points in 11 straight games recently.
Chef Curry has just had a phenomenal run in April where he made 96 three-pointers, breaking Harden's record of 82 three-pointers in a month that he had achieved in November 2019. Curry managed 37.3 points per contest in April, thereby becoming the oldest player to average 35 points per game in a month.