NBA players don't lose their talent despite their age. It might affect their performances and their impact on the team but they do not just lose their talent overnight. As these players get older, they start prioritizing situations during the season. They start load managing and getting themselves ready for the postseason.
There are few players like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant who used to play every night, with the same intensity. This has affected the ambitions of the teams for the season as their talismans have succumbed to injuries and derailed the franchise's campaign. The sheer longevity and the passion of these players is something to be marveled at as they defied age and performed at a very high level.
That being said, we look at the five oldest players in NBA history to score 50 or more points in a game.
#5 Karl Malone - 34 years old
Karl Malone dropped 56 points against the Golden State Warriors at the age of 34. The Utah Jazz power forward dragged the franchise to a victory as he recorded 56 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists while shooting over 62% from the field.
One of the best ever in his position, Malone spent his entire career with the team that drafted him except for the last season of his career where he appeared for the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 25 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists for his career while shooting over 51% from the field. He was just as present on the defensive side of the floor as he was on the offensive end.
Unfortunately, he failed to win a championship in his career. The forward was voted as the MVP in 1997 and 1999 while also being named an All-Star 14 times. He along with John Stockton were the pillars of the Utah Jazz franchise and were one of the most formidable duos in the league.
#4 Alex English - 35 years old
One of the best scorers the game has seen, Alex English struggled during his first few seasons in the league. After being drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, English struggled to cement his place in the starting five. He soon signed a deal with Indiana Pacers as a free agent before securing a move to the Denver Nuggets where he truly played to his potential.
Alex scored 51 points against the Miami Heat as a 35-year-old but failed to grab a win in that game. He dropped 51 points, grabbed 3 rebounds and dished out 9 assists while shooting over 68% from the field. The best season of his career came during the 1982-83 campaign where he averaged 28.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists while shooting over 51% from the field.
English was an All-Star eight times and represented the Nuggets for a decade.
#3 Kobe Bryant - 37 years old
After being drafted as the 13th overall pick during the 1996 NBA Draft, Kobe Bryant ended up as one of the greatest players of all time. He averaged 25 points. 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists throughout his career and won 5 NBA Championships for the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the final game of this career, Bryant dropped 60 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists while shooting 44% from the field against the Utah Jazz as the Lakers won 101-96. The season was a disappointment for the franchise as they finished with a 17-65 record and failed to make the playoffs.
Kobe won the MVP once and was voted as the Finals MVP in 2009 and 2010. He was an All-Star 18 times and his career spanned two decades with the Lakers. Known for "Mamba Mentality", Kobe inspired players outside the sport of basketball and was known for his work ethic and elite mentality.
#2 Michael Jordan - 38 years old
On December 29th, 2001, Michael Jordan dropped 51 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 4 assists while shooting over 55% from the field at the age of 37 as the Washington Wizards beat the Charlotte Bobcats, which later became the Charlotte Hornets. He finished his first season with Wizards averaging 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists while shooting over 41% from the field.
Returning after his second retirement, MJ played for the Wizards for two seasons. Despite being injury-hit throughout his Wizards stint, Jordan did provide moments of true greatness.
Jordan won six championships with the Chicago Bulls, six Finals MVP, and five MVP during his career. He averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 49.7% from the field.
#1 Jamal Crawford - 39 years old
The oldest player to drop 50 or more points in an NBA game is Jamal Crawford. The guard at the age of 39 dropped 51 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds while shooting nearly 54% from beyond the arc in a loss against the Dallas Mavericks.
Despite being 39, Crawford would be a massive addition to any team in the NBA right now and has not officially retired. Over his career, the guard has averaged 14.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists while shooting nearly 35% from the perimeter. He has played for the likes of Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, among other franchises.
The guard was drafted as the eighth overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and was immediately traded to the Chicago Bulls for a deal that included the draft rights to Chris Mihm.