As sad as it is, it’s undeniably that everyone would age, and physical ability would slowly decline. This situation is even more pronounced in sports, particularly in the NBA; gradually, as time goes on all the runs and jumps that didn’t feel like a thing before begin to take their physical toll.
However, due to the way the NBA is, in that a squad can only have about 15 players at most at a single time. Middle-aged athletes are still common in the big teams due to their expertise and experience, and due to this special situation, the position of the oldest NBA player gets changed often.
Even so, it is still quite difficult for someone in the late 30s to be as successful in the NBA as the younger generations. However, with the recent improvements in modern medicine and adequate training and conditioning, players can now play for longer.
Very briefly, we would talk about some issues regarding age in the NBA, such as how age affects performance in the NBA, the top ten oldest players in the current NBA, and how old players are now compared with the previous NBA seasons past.
So, who is the oldest NBA player of all time? Nat Hickey ( 45 years)
How does age affect players' performance in the NBA?
A study by the national library of medicine which had over 2000 examinations in the 2018- 2019 NBA season, classified players into 4 age groups 19-22 years, 23-25 years, 26-29 years, and 30-42 years, showed that players over 30 had a lower average speed and shorter distance covered than the younger players, while guards and forwards over 26 years of age played for more minutes per game and scored more points than their younger counterparts.
So overall, while physical abilities clearly decreased, playing time and technical performance generally remained the same in all age groups. Still, there is a marked decline in the centers in some areas. As age increases, the player's physical powers decline little by little, affecting his speed and agility.
More Reading - Basketball Positions and Player Roles Explained.
How old are players now compared to the previous NBA season?
Due to the advancement of modern medicine, the retiring age for basketball players gradually increased as time passed; for example, Lebron James still boasts phenomenal performances at over 34 years of age; 10 to 20 years ago, most players would have retired.
So, compared to the previous season at an average age of 27.1, players in this current season are clearly older.
Top ten oldest players in the Current NBA
The excitement of the new upcoming season is something that everyone looks forward to because it is like a fresh start for every team and player (which it actually is). Everything gets updated, including the draft and the list of the oldest players to be still playing in top-flight basketball.
On the opening night of the 2021-2022 season, here are the top ten oldest NBA players to ever play in the NBA, and some of them on this list will still be playing actively in the current season.
10. Chris Paul (37 years)
Born on MAY 6th, 1985, Chris Paul has been hailed as one of the best point guards of all time, nicknamed the “point god,” Chris Paul was drafted in 2005 by the New Orleans Hornets. Over time he has also played for Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, and Oklahoma City Thunder; he currently plays for the Phoenix suns, a club he joined in 2020.
9. P.J. Tucker (37 years)
PJ Tucker was born on May 5th, 1985, and was drafted into the NBA in 2006 by the Toronto Raptors; over time, he has played for other clubs, including overseas for clubs like Donetsk, Aris Thessaloniki, Hapoel Holon, Miami heat, Milwaukee Bucks, and of recent he currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers.
8. Paul Millsap (37 years)
Born on February 10th, 1985, he was drafted in 2006 by Utah Jazz, a club he played for till 2013 before switching to Atlanta Hawks. He has been selected for an all-star game 4 times and currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers.
7. LeBron James (37 years)
Regarded as one of the best NBA players of all time, James Lebron was born on December 30, 1984. Hailed as King James, he was drafted in 2003 as 1st overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he then played for the Miami heat, then went back to Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014. afterward, he joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, where he still currently plays. Lebron James has broken numerous records, such as most points in the playoffs and other numerous awards in his name.
6. Carmelo Anthony (38 years)
Born on May 29th, 1984, Carmelo Anthony is hailed as one of the best scorers of the game; he was drafted in 2003 by Denver Nuggets and has featured in the all-stars games multiple times. He currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
5. Andre Iguodala (38 years)
He was born on January 28, 1984; after playing 2 seasons of college basketball in Arizona, he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2004 and has been added to the NBA all-defensive team twice. He currently plays for the Golden State warriors.
4. Udonis Haslem (42 years)
Born on June 30, 1980, Haslem is the oldest player on our list, and in the current NBA season, after leaving the French basketball team of Chalon Sur Saone, Haslem has played for the Miami heat throughout his career, and it is often said that he has become a sort of assistant coach for the club.
3. Robert Parish ( 43 years old)
He was born on August 30th, 1953, and started his career with the Golden State Warriors and later went to the Boston Celtics; he is the oldest player to make it into the hall of Fame and has played for other teams such as Chicago Bulls
2. Kevin Willis ( 44 years old)
Kevin Willis was born on September 6th, 1962, and was drafted in 1984 by the Atlanta Hawks; he won an NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs and had played for teams like the Toronto raptors, Golden state warriors, and Denver Nuggets.
1. Nat Hickey ( 45 years)
He was born on January 30, 1902, and was a coach at the Providence steamrollers; during the 1947- 1948 season, he came in as a player at over 45 years of age, setting a record for the oldest player to compete in an NBA match. A record he has held for more than 73 years
Basketball, like all sports, is constantly evolving, and unlike before, where age was a really big factor, Players can now play for longer as long as they are medically fit, and who knows, as the knowledge of medicine grows, we might be able to see even older players in the NBA.
Who is the oldest player in the NBA right now?
The oldest NBA player in the current season is Udonis Haslem; he is 42 years of age
Who is the oldest player in history to play in the NBA?
The oldest player ever to play in the NBA is Nat Hickey; he was aged 45 and played for the steamrollers in 1948.