It’s not how old you actually are, but how old you really feel. Here is a run-down on the 10 oldest players in the NBA, and you would be surprised by what some of these guys have done. From jumping from a regional team somewhere in Europe straight to the NBA, to dominating the college regionals, these guys have done it all.
Their success is unquestionable after almost two decades in the NBA, but some of them are still very active, despite being over 40 years old.
10. Nick Collison – 37 years, 41 days
Our first player on this list drags something of a legacy around him till this very day, as he was drafted by a team that doesn’t longer exist. After reaching consecutive Final-Fours in his college days, Nick Collison was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in the 12th pick of the 2003 NBA Draft. However, a series of injuries to both shoulders really hindered his ability to shine in a group that had also drafted Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook around that time.
Even so, Nick Collison remained a solid option off the bench for almost 10 seasons in the NBA and is still currently employed by the Thunder. However, he has yet to play a single match this season, meaning that his role is more focused on mentoring.
9. David West – 37 years, 99 days
David West came into the NBA with a lot of credential from his college days, where he averaged almost 20 points per match and more than 10 rebounds. He was National Player of the Year and National Player of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association. He became the first three-time Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and was named first-team All-America by the Associated Press in 2002–03.
He really hit it off with the New Orleans Hornets in the NBA, where his best season was in 2008-09 when he averaged 21 points per match, 8.5 rebounds while playing an average of 39.2 minutes per night. He signed for the Golden State Warriors last season, where he managed to seal his first NBA championship in his long career.
8. Pau Gasol – 37 years, 153 days
Besides Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol has to be one of the most recognizable European players in the history of the NBA. Rookie of the Year in 2002 with the Memphis Grizzlies, he was one of three non-American players to have done that. He went on to capture two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Besides all the success in the NBA, Pau Gasol has also been really influential in the success of the Spanish National Basketball Team, having captured a FIBA World Cup, three Eurobasket titles, and a lot of medals in the Olympics. He is truly one of the best, and he is currently chasing another ring with the San Antonio Spurs, where he is averaging an impressive 10.8 points, 8,2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 blocks.
7. Richard Jefferson – 37 years, 168 days
Richard Jefferson showed great potential from his rookie season in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets, where he averaged 9.7 points and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. At one time, Jefferson averaged 22.6 points per match with 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists, but injuries got the better of him. He still found success with the Spurs, Warriors, Utah and Cleveland in the last 6 years, and is now employed by the Denver Nuggets.
6. Udonis Haslem – 37 years, 180 days
Udonis Haslem had the luck to be on a team that eventually created the Big 3 with Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Udonis Haslem won 3 NBA titles with the Heat, and he is still going strong to this day. Haslem also became the first undrafted player to lead a franchise in rebounding, when he grabbed his 4808th rebound back in 2012. His role has been diminished to playing just 7 minutes in each of the past two seasons, and his full career seems to be drawing to a close.
5. Jamal Crawford – 37 years, 261 days
Jamal Crawford’s career has been quite impressive. He struggled mightily in the start of his career due to some nagging injuries, but he really hit it off in his 4th season with the Chicago Bulls. He averaged 17.3 points, and he went on to have a really productive career. He is the only player to have won the 6th Man of the Year three times (in 2010, 2014 and 2016), and currently hold the most career four-point plays made (55). He easily has at least 3 more years of good basketball in him, so I expect him to join the 40+ club.
No kidding, he really plays pick-up basketball at the Rainier Beach High School in Seattle in his spare time.
4. Dirk Nowitzki – 39 years, 170 days
People will remember the name Dirk Nowitzki for a very long time, as the German-born forward has carved out a legacy in the NBA. He was playing in a regional league in Germany when he was chosen at the 9th pick of the 1998 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks and was immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he has played non-stop for the past 20 seasons and is considered to be among the best power forwards this game has ever seen.
He is the only player to have recorded at least 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,000 steals, 1,000 blocks and 1,000 3-point field goals. He led the Mavericks to 15 NBA Playoffs (2001–2012, 2014–2016), including the franchise’s only championship in 2011. He is the first European to start in an All-Star Game, where he has played in a total of 13 occasions. Moreover, he was the first European to win the MVP awards in 2007.
3. Jason Terry – 40 years, 82 days
Many people might not know this, but Jason Terry has actually made the third-most three-point field goals in NBA history, behind only Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. Nicknamed as “The Jet”, he was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks at the 10th overall pick os the 1999 NBA draft. After a slow rookie year with 8.1 points, Jason Terry erupted in his sophomore year, averaging a whopping 19.7 points per game, to go along with 3.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.3 steals. He went on to have a really productive career, but he has been a shell of himself the past 5 seasons, with averages of 4.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists last season with the Bucks.
2. Manu Ginobili – 40 years, 131 days
Manu Ginobili is a legend in his home country of Argentina, both for his performances with the National Team, but also for his very successful NBA career. Manu was considered one of the biggest draft steals of all time when he was selected at the 57th overall pick of the 1999 NBA draft. He was doing an amazing job overseas when playing for Kinder Bologna in the Italian league, as he has won two Italian League MVP Awards, a Euroleague championship in 2001 and the Triple Crown that year, along with the Euroleague Finals MVP award.
After that stunning season, he was summoned by Greg Popovich. Manu Ginobili would continue his astonishing performances in his new surroundings, as he went on to capture four NBA Championships with the San Antonio Spurs, along with two NBA All-Star appearances in 2005 and 2011. He is still going strong, as this season he averages 8.3 ppg, 2.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.8 steals. Impressive.
1. Vince Carter – 40 years, 314 days
Also known as “Air Canada” from his time in the Toronto Raptors, Vince Carter is on an astonishing 22nd season in the NBA. Drafted 5th by the Toronto Raptors, Vince Carter was excellent even since his rookie year (18.3p, 5.7r, 3as, 1.1st, 1.5bl), and he even averages more than 27 points per match in 2000-01 and in 2004-05, when he played for the Nets.
He is one of only seven players ever to have played at least 20 seasons in the NBA, and one of six players in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game in 10 straight seasons. Moreover, he was the fifth player in NBA history to record at least 2,000 career three-pointers.
He was the main scoring force that led the Toronto Raptors to 3 playoff appearances and did exactly that when he was traded to the New Jersey Nets. However, the highlight of his career was from his time with the Orlando Magic, when they reached the Eastern Conference Finals.