Who is the Oldest NBA Player?

By Andrew D

April 29, 2022

Image Courtesy of Alamy

It may come as a surprise, as it did to us here in The Jump Hub office, that the average career length of players in the NBA is just 4.6 years. This is, in part down to the sheer number of youngsters coming through the ranks. Competition is fierce and, if we are feeling cynical (when are we not?) rookies also cost less than veterans in the NBA.

An NBA roster is limited to 12-15 players, so it is not always easy to hang onto a position once you have it. It is not uncommon to see players move teams time and again during their careers. Joe Smith played for 12 different teams in his 16 years in the NBA!

It is no mean feat to have an extended career playing professional basketball in the United States.

When it comes to the oldest players in the NBA, the list contains some superb talents. In this article, we’ll provide a list of the oldest active NBA players. We will first list the oldest active NBA players in ascending order and discuss any points of interest and particular skills they display. We will then list the oldest players in NBA history and do likewise.

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  • Date of birth: June 24th 1985 – 36 years old

  • Born: Brooklyn, New York

  • Height/weight: 6’9″ (2.06m) – 232lb (105kg)

  • College: USC

  • NBA debut: October 29th 2009

  • Teams: Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks

  • Position: Power forward, center

  • Total earnings: $75 million

Taj Gibson is known as a rough, tough defender. Nothing gets in his way and nothing stops him. Even the time he lost his shoe he still managed to get a block in with the shoe in his other hand!
This kind of tenacity goes a long way with NBA coaches and see Gibson making the roster to this day.

Taj Gibson has a total of 888 games (447 started) across his 14 seasons in the NBA. During those games, he has averaged 9.1 points (PPG) 6.1 rebounds (TRB), and 1.0 assists (AST) per game.


  • Date of birth: May 6th 1985 – 36 years old

  • Born: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

  • Height/weight: 6’0” (1.83m) – 175lb (79kg)

  • College: Wake Forest

  • NBA debut: November 1st 2005

  • Teams: New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder,  Phoenix Suns

  • Position: Point guard

  • Total earnings: $326 million

In 2005, Chris Paul announced that he would start his professional basketball career while still in college and has gone on to become one of the highest-paid athletes on the planet.

Across his 1,148 games (1,148 started) in the NBA, Paul has amassed 18.2 points per game (PPG). He also has an average of 4.5 rebounds (TRB) and 9.5 assists (AST).

Chris Paul is actually leading the whole NBA in assists this season, his 16th in the NBA, with a superb 10.7 per game.


  • Date of birth: May 5th 1985 – 36 years old

  • Born: Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Height/weight: 6’5” (1.96m) – 245lb (111kg)

  • College: Texas

  • NBA debut: November 1st 2006

  • Teams: Toronto Raptors (Drafted), Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks

  • Position: Power forward, small forward, shooting guard

  • Total earnings: $50 million

P.J. Tucker joined the Toronto Raptors in the NBA in the 2006/07 season. He was there for one season only, then spent the next 6 seasons playing overseas. He only returned to the NBA in 2012 to play with the Phoenix Suns.

Tucker has played 768 games in the NBA (572 started). His career averages of 7.2 points per game (PPG), 5.7 rebounds (TRB), and 1.5 assists (AST) don’t exactly set the world on fire.

Nevertheless, P.J. Tucker won an NBA Championship with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021.


  • Date of birth: 10th February 1985 – 37 years old

  • Born: Monroe, Louisiana

  • Height/weight: 6’7” (2.01m) – 257lb (116kg)

  • College: Louisiana Tech

  • NBA debut: November 1st 2006

  • Teams: Utah Jazz (Drafted), Atlanta Hawks, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers

  • Position: Power forward

  • Total earnings: $192 million

From second-round pick in the NBA Draft of 2006, Paul Millsap went on to carve himself a stellar career that not many saw coming. He was considered to be a rock-solid player during his first 7 seasons with the Utah Jazz. But it was when he moved to join the Atlanta Hawks that things really began to happen for Millsap.

In his career number of 1,083 games (745 started), Millsap has averaged 13.4 points per game (PPG). He has an excellent 7.1 rebounds (TRB) and a decent 2.2 assists per game (AST)

He was an All-Star in each of the 4 years that he played for the Hawks, and commanded a huge price when he moved to Denver.

Paul Millsap is still seeking his first-ever NBA Championship win and has put his faith in the Brooklyn Nets to get the job done this season. Time will tell…


  • Date of birth: December 30th 1984 – 37 years old

  • Born: Akron, Ohio

  • Height/weight: 6’9” (2.06m) – 250lb (113kg)

  • High school: St. Vincent-St. Mary.

  • NBA debut: October 29th 2003

  • Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers (Drafted), Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers

  • Position: Small forward, power forward, point guard, shooting guard.

  • Total earnings: $1 billion +

LeBron James is the fourth oldest active NBA player

The 17-time NBA All-Star is undeniably one of the most talented NBA players the world has ever had the privilege to watch in action. He has 4 NBA Championship rings, having appeared in more playoff games than any player in league history (266 games) The accolades just keep coming for this superlative athlete. 17 All-Star appearances, 17 All-NBA bids, six All-Defensive teams, four MVPs, and four Finals MVPs.

LeBron James has a career average of points per game 27.1(PPG) and a high of 30 (2007/08 season) across 1,360 games (1,359 started) The story of that one game he didn’t start is that he wanted to enter the court at the same time as his teammate Anderson Varejao, to prevent him from getting booed. And it worked. That is a measure of the man.

Points are clearly not an issue for LeBron James. He is only around 3,000 points behind all-time NBA highest scorer Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar at this point. However, it is his 7.5 rebounds (TRB) and 7.4 assists (AST) per game that are genuinely incredible. In 2019/20 he averaged a truly impressive 10.2 assists per game. “King James” is, without doubt, a game-changer extraordinaire and has graced the NBA with his presence for 18 glorious seasons. It will take a herculean effort to take away his crown.

After suffering significant injuries over the last couple of years, it is important for the Los Angeles Lakers to weigh up how much they feel he’ll contribute to the rest of the regular season and whether it might be worth resting James to keep him fresh for the NBA Finals if they get there…

Read here about one of Lebron's latest games where he achieved a Season High of 47 with the Lakers beating Hawks.


  • Date of birth: May 29th 1984 – 37 years old

  • Born: Brooklyn, New York

  • Height/weight: 6’7” (2.01m) – 238lb (107kg)

  • College: Syracuse

  • NBA debut: October 29th 2003

  • Teams: Denver Nuggets, New York Knickerbockers, Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets

  • Position: Small forward/power forward

  • Total earnings: $267 million

Of his 1,251 games in the NBA (1,120 started) Carmelo Anthony has averaged a superb 22.5 points-per-game (PPG). He also has 6.2 rebounds (TRB) and 2.7 assists (AST). He’s no slouch from the free-throw line either, with a career average of 81.4%

Carmelo Anthony was picked from the same NBA Draft class as LeBron James, in fact, they made their NBA debuts on the same day.

Carmelo has had some turbulent times in the NBA. At one point it seemed as though he might be exiled altogether. Step in the Portland Trail Blazers in 2019 and he was given the chance to rebuild his reputation as a reliable role player.

Although there are very few current NBA players that are as accomplished as Carmelo Anthony, he remains the oldest NBA player in the league not to have an NBA Championship win to his name.

He is a future Hall of Famer who has been on 12 NBA All-Star rosters.


  • Date of birth: January 28th 1984 – 37 years old

  • Born: Springfield, Illinois

  • Height/weight: 6’6” (1.98m) – 215lb (97kg)

  • College: Arizona

  • NBA debut: November 3rd 2004

  • Teams: Philadelphia 76ers (Drafted), Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat.

  • Position: Small forward/shooting guard

  • Total earnings: $170 million

Andre Iguodala is a three-time NBA champion. All of those rings were won with the Golden State Warriors,

During his illustrious career, he has twice been All-Defense, and is also a one-time All-Star. He was also named the 2015 NBA Finals MVP.

Known for his excellent defensive work and rugged dribbling, Iguodala has been a threat to the opposition in each of the 18 seasons he has spent in the NBA. To have such longevity in a sport as competitive as professional basketball is nothing short of astonishing.

Over 1,218 games (784 started), Iggy has averaged 11.4 points (PPG), 5.0 rebounds (TRB) and 4.2 assists (AST). Remarkable.

Andre Iguodala is the second-oldest active NBA player at 37 years old.


  • Date of birth: June 9th 1980 – 41 years old

  • Born: Springfield, Illinois

  • Height/weight: 6’8″ (2.03m) – 235lb (106kg)

  • College: Florida

  • NBA debut: October 28th 2003

  • Teams: Miami Heat.

  • Position: Power forward/center

  • Total earnings: $68 million

Udonis Haslem is the oldest player still playing in the NBA today.

He is almost 4 years older than the next-oldest player on the list.

He has been with the Miami Heat since signing with them in 2003 as an undrafted free agent. When he joined them he had no experience at the time. Currently, in his 19th season with the Miami Heat, Haslem is the player with the longest tenure in NBA history.

Haslem peaked in the early 2010s when he was known as a formidable enforcer on the Big 3 Miami Heat. Over the past five years, Haslem has only participated in a total of 45 games. Udonis Haslem has played 868 games in the NBA (500 started). He has an average of 7.5 points per game (PPG), 6.7 rebounds (TRB) and 0.8 assists (AST). His best stats were in the 2007/08 season.

Haslem doesn’t really play in any meaningful way these days. In the past 5 seasons, he has accumulated fewer than 250 minutes of court time. The only (and perhaps final) game he appeared in last season saw him ejected for fighting after 3 minutes…

Udonis has had an extended NBA career but effectively operates as an assistant coach these days. Maybe that’s for the best…


In the 75 years since the NBA began, there have been over 4,500 players in the league. The list above shows the oldest active ones. Now we turn to the oldest players in all of NBA history.


  • Date of birth: June 25th 1966 – 56 years old

  • Born: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Height/weight: 7’2″ (2.18m) – 245lb (111kg)

  • College: Georgetown

  • NBA debut: November 1st 1991

  • Teams: Denver Nuggets (Drafted)

  • Position: Center

  • Total earnings: $140 million

  • Retired from NBA – 43 years old

Drafted No. 4 overall by the Nuggets in 1991, Dikembe Mutombo averaged 12.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game during his career. He was named Defensive Player of the Year four times. He retired in 2009 after 18 seasons in the NBA at 43 years old.

Dikembe Mutombo was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

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  • Date of birth: January 26th 1977 – 45 years old

  • Born: Daytona Beach, Florida

  • Height/weight: 6’6” (1.98m) – 220lb (99kg)

  • College: UNC

  • NBA debut: February 5th 1999

  • Teams: Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks

  • Position: Shooting guard, small forward, power forward

  • Total earnings: $134 million

  • Retired from NBA: 43 years old

From providing iconic moments in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest to appearing in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Vince Carter had an action-packed career.

At 22 years long, it represents the longest career of any professional basketball player.

Across his 1,541 games in the NBA (983 started), Carter averaged 16.7 points per game (PPG). He also had 4.3 rebounds (TRB), and 3.1 assists (AST).

Carter nailed a 3-pointer with his final touch in March 2020 and is likely to enter the Hall of Fame once eligible.


  • Date of birth: August 30th 1953

  • Born: Shreveport, Louisiana

  • Height/weight: 7’1” (2.16m) – 230lb (104kg)

  • College: Centenary LA

  • NBA debut: October 22nd 1976

  • Teams: Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls

  • Position: Center

  • Total earnings: $37 million

  • Retired from NBA: 43 years old

Robert Parish is the oldest of all the players to make it to the NBA Hall of Fame. He won three NBA Championship titles with the Boston Celtics and made14 All-Star appearances.

He formed part of the NBA’s first Big 3 with Kevin McHale and Larry Bird.

Parish also played alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in a Chicago Bulls jersey. The Bulls won the NBA Finals, giving Robert his fourth ring. At the same time, he became the oldest player to win one.


  • Date of birth September 6th 1962

  • Born: Los Angeles, California

  • Height/weight: 7’0” (2.13m) – 220lb (99kg)

  • College: Michigan State

  • NBA debut: October 26th 1984

  • Teams: Atlanta Hawks (Drafted), Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks

  • Position: Power forward, center

  • Total earnings: $30 million

  • Retired from NBA: 44 years old

Kevin Willis enjoyed a proud 21-year NBA career.

During his 1,424 NBA games (891 started), Willis averaged 12.1 points per game (PPG). He also achieved an impressive 8.4 rebounds (TRB), and 0.9 assists (AST)

Apart from the 1988/89 season, when a knee injury kept him out, Willis played every year until 2005/06. He did return after a single year of his first retirement for one last hurrah with the Dallas Mavericks before retiring for good at the age of 44 in 2007.


  • Date of birth: January 30th 1902

  • Died: September 16, 1979 – aged 77

  • Born: Hoboken, New Jersey

  • Height/weight: 5’11” (1.80m) – 180lb (81kg)

  • NBA (BAA) debut: January 27th 1948

  • Teams: Providence Steamrollers

  • Position: Guard, forward

  • Retired from NBA: 45 years old

In the 1947-48 season, Nat Hickey coached the Providence Steamrollers. He moved himself onto the active roster when the team got off to a 4-25 start.

To this day, he remains the oldest NBA player of all time.

Hickey was not an impressive player. He played in only two games and made more fouls than points. Say what you like about his stats but after 74 years his age record has still not been surpassed. It seems unlikely that it ever will be.


There we have it. The oldest NBA players in history. A wide range of skills and longevity, covering just about every NBA team. Each NBA career on the list reveals something about league history and the character of the game we love.

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