The way the game of basketball is played in the NBA has changed over the decades. Players who can adapt and transition their game with the changing times can sustain longer and with their knowledge and experience, become veterans of the game.
NBA veterans who continue to have an impact on the league
- Udonis Haslem
- Andre Igoudala
- Carmelo Anthony
- JJ Redick
- LeBron James
- Marc Gasol
- Paul Millsap
- PJ Tucker
- Chris Paul
- Trevor Ariza
These NBA players may not necessarily always be of an MVP caliber, but they are players who have changed with the times.
Some of them have taken a backseat from the limelight and accepted a secondary role in the team playing key and pivotal roles as well as guiding the young talent in the locker room.
5 of the oldest players in the NBA currently
5. LeBron James
Stat line: 25.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 7.9 APG
The 36-year-old living legend has only gotten better with age. Currently playing for the LA Lakers, the King of Akron is a 4 time NBA champion, 4-time finals MVP, and 4 league MVP.
LeBron is a force to be reckoned with even at this age as he is averaging 33.9 minutes per game, which is more than most players half his age. He also boasts a 51.3 FG% and 36.8% from the 3-point line.
LeBron has played both the position of a small forward as well shooting guard for the LA Lakers. Age doesn't seem to be a factor affecting LeBron James as he still has a lot of gas left in the tank.
4. JJ Redick
Stat line: 8.7 PPG, 1.7 RPG, and 1.3 APG
The 36-year old is one of the best shooters in the NBA even today, especially beyond the arc. He was recently traded to the Dallas Mavericks from the New Orleans Pelicans.
During his tenure with the Pelicans, he played 91 games with young talents like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson and had an FG% of 41.7 while averaging 18.6 minutes per game. For the first time in his career, Redick didn't make the playoffs in the 2020 pandemic season.
Redick had some of his prime years with the Clippers, known as the lob city at the time where he had his career-high 47.5% from the 3-point line.
3. Carmelo Anthony
Stat line: 13.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 1.7 APG
The 10 time NBA All-Star is currently playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. He is a key role player in the franchise, scoring multiple game-winning 3s from the zero known to be his best spot last season.
Melo played the early years of his career with the Denver Nuggets, where he averaged 25.6 points in his last season with them and was then traded to the New York Knicks, his native place, and played 6 seasons for them.
The former scoring champion's career had hit a huge roadblock when he was made to sit out after merely playing 10 games with the Houston Rockets. There was a lot of controversy surrounding him at the time, with Melo waiting to return to the court.
There were rumors of him signing with the Lakers, Nets and others, but nothing seemed to materialize.
Though Melo earned a lot of support from his peers LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade, he was still waiting for his opportunity to return. After a one-year hiatus, the Trail Blazers signed him in 2019 and bought him back in the league.
Damian Lillard had a major role to play in his recruitment.
2. Andre Iguodala
Stat line: 4.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 2.1 APG
The 37-year old NBA veteran is one of the most respected players in the league today. He currently plays for the Miami Heat, who were Eastern Conference champions in 2020.
Andre Iguodala won 3 championships with his former team, the Golden State Warriors, and was also the finals MVP in 2015. During his tenure with the Golden State Warriors he was regarded as the leader and was highly revered by everyone in the locker room.
Some of his other accolades include All-Defensive first team in 2013-14, All-rookie first team in 2003-04, and NBA All-star in 2012.
1. Udonis Haslem
Stat line: 3.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 0.3 APG
The 40-year old Power Forward is currently the oldest player in the NBA. He was an undrafted rookie in the 2002 NBA Draft. Yet to play this season, Haslem has been out due to the health and safety protocols regarding Covid-19.
Haslem is a 4-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat and has played with the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James.
He is also the 30th player in the league to have played above the age of 40. Haslem played a big role in the Miami Heat's journey to the 2020 NBA finals, mentoring the young talent in the locker room since he had a lot of championship experience in his career.
In conclusion, it can be said that these NBA players have been able to sustain themselves and adapt to the changes in the game over the years.
Some of them are even future Hall Of Famers. They have displayed consistency in work ethic, while at the same time keeping their health in check over the years.