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LeBron James and the best age 37 seasons in NBA history

Profile Picture: Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy

January 4th, 2022

They say that Father Time is undefeated, but he has yet to take down LeBron James. The Los Angeles Lakers star is continuing to defy expectations and shatter records since turning 37 years old on Dec. 30

James recently became the oldest player in NBA history to record at least 40 points and 14 rebounds in a game, when he erupted for a season-high 43 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on New Year’s Eve.

That particular performance occurred just a week after the four-time MVP surpassed Kobe Bryant to become the league’s all-time leading scorer on Christmas Day. His 422 career points on Dec. 25 also allowed him to leapfrog Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most points on a single date in NBA history. At this point in his career, it would take less time to list the records LeBron doesn’t hold, rather than rattling off the ones that bear his name.

While most players from his draft class have long since retired, James is still kicking ass and taking names. The 17-time All-Star is averaging 28.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game while playing all five positions for the Lakers. It’s a completely unheard of feat, and it’s one more reason why LeBron is widely considered to be the GOAT.

As sensational as LeBron has been, he isn’t the only veteran to enjoy a stellar year late in his career. Here are five more NBA stars who shined in their age 37 seasons.

5. Robert Parish (Boston Celtics, 1990-91)

PTSREBASTSTLBLK
14.9
10.6
0.8
0.8
1.3

The Celtics were no longer a dynasty by the 1990-91 season, but they were still a tough out thanks to the steady play of Robert Parish. "Chief" made the last of his nine All-Star appearances that season while helping lead Boston’s aging roster to a 56-26 finish and first place in the Atlantic Division.

Parish’s 45 doubles-doubles were among the most in the NBA that year, and he finished with 12 rebounds or more 32 times. His ability to reliably clean the boards allowed the soft-spoken center to play in the NBA until his 43rd birthday.

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Steve Nash (13) during game 2 of the NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Icon Sports Media)

4. Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns, 2011-12)

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12.5
3.0
10.7
0.6
0.1

Point guard tends to be a younger man's position, which is why it's impressive that Steve Nash was continuing to orchestrate Phoenix's "Seven Seconds or Less" offense at such dizzying speeds in his age 37 season. The two-time MVP finished first in total assists that year while coming tantalizingly close to recording his fifth 50-40-90 season. Nash's individual brilliance was recognized with the eighth - and final - All-Star appearance of his career. 

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Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett defends on San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan. (Photo by Mark Halmas/Icon Sportswire)

3. Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs, 2013-14)

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15.1
9.7
3.0
0.6
1.9

Tim Duncan played like he was 40 when he was just 20, so it should come as no surprise that his ground-bound game was still effective during his age 37 season. "The Big Fundamental" employed his patented bank shot to average 15.1 points on offense that year while continuing to neutralize opposing bigs at the other end of the court with his superb strength, positioning, and court awareness.

As good as he was in the regular season, Duncan was even better in the 2014 NBA Playoffs, where he helped the Spurs overcome early scares against the Mavericks and Thunder to advance to the Finals against LeBron James and the heavily-favored Heat for the second year in a row. The title rematch was supposed to be a breeze for Miami, but Duncan flipped the script with staunch defense and clutch shotmaking and helped guide the franchise to its fifth championship.

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Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz. (Photo by Icon Sportswire)

2. Karl Malone (Utah Jazz, 2000-01)

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23.2
8.3
4.5
1.1
0.8

Karl Malone showed no signs of slowing down during his age 37 season, when he led the Jazz in minutes, points, and rebounds and was second in assists to fellow Hall of Famer John Stockton. Their ageless pick-and-roll partnership powered Utah to a 52-29 record and a second place finish in the Midwest Division. 

The Jazz flamed out in the first round of the playoffs, but "The Mailman" was recognized for delivering all season long with an All-Star selection and a well-earned spot on the All-NBA Third Team.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. (Photo by Christophe Elise/DPPI/Icon Sportswire)

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers, 1984-85)

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22.0
7.9
3.2
0.8
2.1

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar saved his best for last during the 1984-85 season, when he averaged 25.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 5.2 assists in the NBA Finals against the Celtics. His lights-out play included a 36-point performance at home in Game 6, and resulted in the second NBA Finals MVP Award of his career, a full 14-years after his first with the Bucks. It's a true testament to his longevity, and remains the longest gap between Finals MVP nods in NBA history.

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