Playing in the NBA might seem fun from an outsider's perspective, however, to a player, it is one of the most physically demanding activities. Regardless, there have been a few players who have produced on the court even after losing their prime athleticism.
NBA starting 5 featuring players aged 35 and above
Most of the players on this list have continued to display MVP-level performances despite their age. Their game is no longer ruled by speed and agility, as most now depend on their high basketball IQ and technicality. Here is the starting lineup of players aged 35 and above.
Point Guard - Chris Paul (Age, 35)
Chris Paul has played in the NBA for 16 years, and in that time, has won most major awards. However, he has missed out on the regular-season MVP title. The point guard was the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft. Although Chris Paul might never have dazzled with his ball-handling skills, he was once unguardable.
CP3 is known for his ability to read the game. His quick hands and awareness helped him achieve the NBA assists leader title four times in the regular season. He also holds the record for the most steals in a season.
Chris Paul has been consistent throughout the 16 years he has spent as an NBA player. He has averaged 18.3 PPG, 9.5 Assists, and 4.5 rebounds in 1,075 career games played. He is currently the second-best player for the Phoenix Suns, who are second in the Western Conference standings. There is no point guard in the league worthy of Chris Paul's place in this hypothetical starting lineup.
Shooting Guard - Carmelo Anthony (Age, 36)
The Denver Nuggets selected Carmelo Anthony as the third overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. He hit the ground running in the NBA and almost won the Rookie of the Year award, losing narrowly to LeBron James. He has also played for some of the biggest franchises in NBA history.
Currently, Carmelo Anthony comes off the bench for the Portland Trail Blazers. His job is to take some of the scoring burdens off Damian Lillard. Melo, as he is popularly called, made appearances in all but one NBA All-Star game between 2007 and 2017.
The only things missing from Anthony's impressive career are a regular-season MVP title and a championship ring. Melo has averaged 23.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 1,176 career games played. It takes a lot of effort to maintain these averages, but Carmelo makes it look easy.
Small Forward - LeBron James (Age, 36)
The debate as to whether LeBron James is the GOAT is still ongoing. However, the longer he plays, the 36-year-old gives the basketball community more reasons to hand him the crown. LeBron James spares no expense in taking care of his body. Such care might guarantee him a longer playing tenure at the top than most.
It is difficult to point out an award in the NBA that LeBron James hasn't won. He holds the record for the only player to win the NBA championship with three different teams. He's also the only player to win the NBA finals MVP trophy with three different teams. Although his effort on the defensive end has reduced, he still looks good enough to play for another four years.
The first overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft has proved his worth over the years. The forward has featured in over 1,300 games and averages 27.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 7.4 APG. LeBron missed out on the 2019 MVP race but was declared the NBA Finals MVP after winning the championship.
Power Forward - Andre Iguodala (Age, 37)
Andre Iguodala is the oldest player on this list, but is still one of the best defensive players in the NBA. He has single-handedly frustrated LeBron's efforts on some days, which in itself is an achievement.
The power forward has won three championships with the Golden State Warriors and was named Finals MVP in 2015. Throughout his career, Iguodala averages 11.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 1,179 matches.
Center - Dwight Horward (Age, 35)
Dwight Howard started his career at the Orlando Magic after being selected as the 1st overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft. Dwight settled into the NBA easily and has since been a menace in the paint. The center won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for three consecutive years from 2009 onwards.
Howard joined the 76ers at the start of the 2020-21 NBA season after winning his first championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 35-year-old still remains effective, contributing 6.8 PPG and 8.3 RPG with the Eastern Conference leaders.