Top 10 oldest players in NBA history
The NBA features some of the greatest athletes in the world. And while athleticism might be enough for some players to get their chance, recognition is owed to those who display the savvy and skill to play well past the average age of retirement.
Without further ado, here are the 10 oldest players in NBA history.
10. Charles Jones
Position: Center/power forward
Age during final game: 41 years, 30 days
Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Chicago Bulls, Washington Bullets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets
Years active: 1984-1998
A member of the Rockets' 1995 NBA Championship team, Jones began his career overseas before spending time with five different NBA franchises. He enjoyed his finest season in 1984-85, when he averaged 5.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game for the Washington Bullets.
9. John Stockton
Position: Point guard
Age during final game: 41 years, 35 days
Team: Utah Jazz
Years active: 1985-2003
One of the greatest point guards of all time and the ultimate assist man, Stockton played his entire career with the Utah Jazz. His game was timeless, and it allowed him to play into his 40’s.
8. Herb Williams
Age during final game: 41 years, 129 days
Teams: Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks
Years active: 1982-1999
Williams' name may not be familiar to younger NBA fans, but he was one of the league's most dependable bigs during his 19-year career. The Ohio State alum averaged 17.0 points and 8.1 rebounds during a a five year span from 1983-87, and was a valuable member of the New York Knicks late in his career.
7. Bob Cousy
Position: Point guard
Age during final game: 41 years, 150 days
Teams: Boston Celtics, Cincinnati Royals
Years active: 1951-1963, 1970
After retiring from basketball in 1963, legendary Celtics point guard Cousy found himself coaching the Cincinnati Royals. In a late-season effort to boost ticket sales, the 13-time All-Star returned to the court and averaged 0.7 points over seven games.
Bob Cousy probably had one of the worst comebacks in #NBA history.— NBA Hoops Online (@NBABoards) August 10, 2019
7 years after playing for the Celtics he came back as a player/coach and played 7 games for the Royals. He managed less than 7 mpg and less than a point and rebound and 1 ast per game. pic.twitter.com/WcjhC27OyN
6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Age during final game: 42 years, 6 days
Teams: Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers
Years active: 1970-1989
One of the NBA’s greatest players, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a 19-time All-Star, a six-time MVP, and is the league's all-time leading scorer. His graceful skyhook remained nearly unblockable until the day he retired.
5. Dikembe Mutombo
Age during final game: 42 years, 300 days
Teams: Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets
Years active: 1992-2009
The four-time Defensive Player of the Year was one of the greatest defenders and shot blockers in NBA history. Even at age 42, Mutumbo was still averaging an impressive 1.2 swats per game.
4. Vince Carter
Position: Shooting guard/small forward
Age during final game: 43 years, 37 days
Teams: Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks
Years active: 1999-2020
One of the more well-traveled and adaptable players in the game, Carter went from being the greatest dunker of his generation to a three-point shooting threat. His unceremonious retirement in a COVID-shortened season didn’t do justice to the impact "Air Canada" had on the game.
3. Robert Parrish
Age during final game: 43 years, 254 days
Teams: Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls
Years active: 1977-1997
The long-time Boston Celtic holds the record for most regular-season games played in NBA history at 1,611.
2. Kevin Willis
Position: Power forward/center
Age during final game: 44 years, 224 days
Teams: Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks
Years active: 1985-2005, 2007
Willis played only five games with Dallas during his final year after a season-long break, but his ability to make the court as a nearly 45-year-old is nothing short of incredible.
1. Nat Hickey
Age during final game: 45 years, 363 days
Team: Providence Steamrollers
Years active: 1948
If you want to win a trivia challenge, this might be your winning answer. Nat Hickey was the coach of the Providence Steamrollers and activated himself for two games in 1948 to try to turn the team’s fortunes around.
The oldest player to ever appear in NBA game was Nat Hickey, a 5'11 coach who activated himself for 2 games in 1947-48 just days before his 46th birthday. He went 0-6 from the field and had 5 fouls in his first game. I just felt the need to share this baller move with the world. pic.twitter.com/D6edKlgyYH— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) January 20, 2019
He holds the record for oldest player to step onto an NBA court.