5 Oldest NBA Players of All Time
Basketball is quite often known to be a young man's game, especially in the NBA. With all the agility and quick movements required, not to mention the need to be productive on both ends of the court. At the same time, the NBA is also a league of superhumans. And we have had multiple players defying age and defeating father time over the years. Just take this past year (2017-18) for example. Although in limited minutes, 7 of the 9 oldest players this past season were quite valuable and important players in their team's rotation.
In fact, all of these 9 players were either guards/wings or power forwards, some only playing the center position as part of a small-ball line-up. While one obvious reason for this is the league evolving to playing small ball, the other important reasons are the state-of-the-art medical facilities that the current players have at their disposal and more team's embracing the concept of "rest" which has helped elongate the careers of various players over the past decade.
However, this is something that's only come around recently. Therefore, you will notice that on the all-time list of "oldest NBA players ever", six of the top 10 are centers with three of them featuring in the top 5. A lot of that has got to do with the league's playing style early on - relatively slow game pace and the ball being pounded into the paint more often than not.
Have you guessed the 5 oldest players yet? Well, never mind, we got you covered:
#5 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Age during last game: 42 years and 6 days
Unlike a lot of these players on this list, Kareem despite being around the age of 40 was still quite effective and productive as part of the team's regular rotation. In fact, just four years before retirement, at 38 years old, Kareem had been named the 1985 Finals MVP for averages of 25.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists on 60.4% shooting while playing 35.5 minutes against the Boston Celtics.
Kareem's greatness lays in the fact that he played a HUGE role in his team's success - initially as a perennial MVP candidate with the Milwaukee Bucks and later, in his early years with the Los Angeles Lakers (1975-79). Once the purple and gold franchise drafted Magic Johnson in 1979, he still played a pivotal role but was part of a 1-2 punch with Magic.
Kareem, the first overall pick of the 1969 Draft, basically did back in the 1970's and 1980's what LeBron James is doing right now - consistent excellence and domination of the game. He did not make it to 8th straight NBA Finals but over the course of his 20 years, he was named NBA MVP six times. He was part of a championship winning squad six times as well, twice being named the Finals MVP.
Other notable individual accolades include Rookie of the Year (1970), 2-time scoring champion, 19 All-Star selections, 15 All-NBA selections, 11 NBA All-Defensive selections.
His No. 33 has been retired by UCLA (won 3 NCAA titles with them), the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Lakers. Oh, and he also leads the league's all-time scoring charts with 38,387 career points in the regular season.