Who Is The Oldest Nba Player

Curiosity about the oldest NBA player has always lingered among basketball enthusiasts. Unveiling the remarkable endurance and passion displayed by these veteran athletes, this article navigates the realm of professional basketball to discover the ultimate answer to the intriguing question: who is the oldest NBA player? Providing insightful context, real facts, and a comprehensive exploration, this article sheds light on the historical and inspirational journey of these determined players. Buckle up as we embark on an exhilarating ride through the annals of NBA history.

Oldest NBA Players in History


When it comes to professional basketball, age is usually seen as a limitation. However, there have been several players in NBA history who defied the odds and continued to contribute to the game well into their twilight years. In this article, we will explore some of the oldest NBA players in history and delve into the factors that have helped them maintain longevity in the fast-paced world of the NBA.

Criteria for Determining the Oldest NBA Player

Determining the oldest NBA player involves considering several factors, including birthdate, NBA debut, last NBA game, and total NBA career. By looking at these criteria, we can get a comprehensive understanding of the players who have showcased remarkable endurance and skill throughout their careers.

1. Birthdate

One of the primary factors in determining the oldest NBA player is their birthdate. The older the player is, the higher the chances they would have been among the oldest players in the league.

2. NBA Debut

The NBA debut of a player is also significant in assessing their longevity. If a player started their professional career relatively early, their chances of playing into their older years would be higher.

3. Last NBA Game

The last NBA game a player participates in is crucial in assessing their age at retirement. Players who were able to compete at a high level until their later years undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the league.

4. Total NBA Career

Considering the total NBA career of a player provides insights into their ability to sustain their performance over a prolonged period. This factor takes into account the number of seasons a player competed in the NBA and the overall impact they had on the game.

George Mikan

Nat Hickey

Kevin Willis

Robert Parish

Dirk Nowitzki

Factors that Impact an NBA Player’s Longevity

1. Physical Fitness and Health

Maintaining peak physical fitness is crucial for any NBA player, especially as they age. Players who prioritize their health and put in the work to stay fit are more likely to extend their careers.

2. Skillset and Versatility

Adapting and evolving with the ever-changing game of basketball is essential for players looking to extend their careers. Those who possess a versatile skillset and can contribute in various ways are more likely to have staying power in the league.

3. Mentality and Experience

Mental fortitude and experience are key attributes that come into play as players age. The ability to stay focused, make smart decisions, and utilize past experiences can greatly impact a player’s longevity.

4. Evolving Game Techniques and Technology

As the NBA evolves and new techniques and technology emerge, players who can adapt to these changes have a better chance of extending their careers. Staying up-to-date with advancements in the game can give players an edge as they navigate the challenges of aging.

George Mikan – The Early Dominator

1. Birthdate and NBA Debut

George Mikan, born on June 18, 1924, in Joliet, Illinois, was a basketball pioneer. He made his NBA debut in the 1948-1949 season as a member of the Minneapolis Lakers.

2. Achievements and Records

Mikan’s impact on the game was immense, and he dominated the league during his prime. He led the Lakers to five championships and was a seven-time All-Star. Mikan was also the NBA’s leading scorer for three consecutive seasons, from 1948 to 1950, and he paved the way for big men in the game.

3. Retirement and Last NBA Game

Despite his achievements, George Mikan’s NBA career concluded relatively early compared to some other players on this list. He retired in 1956, at the age of 31, after a brief comeback attempt with the Lakers.

Nat Hickey – The One-Game Wonder

1. Birthdate

Born on April 30, 1902, Nat Hickey holds the distinction of being the oldest player to have ever played in an NBA game.

2. NBA Debut and Last NBA Game

Hickey’s NBA debut occurred on February 28, 1948, when he suited up for the Providence Steamrollers at the age of 45. Surprisingly, that one game turned out to be his first and last in the NBA.

Kevin Willis – The Age-Defying Force

1. Birthdate and NBA Debut

Kevin Willis, born on September 6, 1962, in Los Angeles, California, played his first NBA season in 1984 as a member of the Atlanta Hawks.

2. Lengthy NBA Career

Willis defied father time by playing an astonishing 23 seasons in the NBA, a record in itself. He continued to contribute to various teams and showcased his durability, playing well into his late 30s and 40s.

3. Achievements and Retirement

Although Willis didn’t achieve the same level of fame as some other players, his longevity in the league speaks volumes. He retired in 2007 at the age of 44, leaving behind a remarkable legacy of resilience and commitment to the game.

Robert Parish – The Iron Man

1. Birthdate and NBA Debut

Born on August 30, 1953, in Shreveport, Louisiana, Robert Parish entered the NBA in 1976 as a member of the Golden State Warriors.

2. Longest NBA Career Span

Parish holds the record for the longest career span in NBA history, spanning an impressive 21 seasons. He showcased tremendous consistency and durability throughout his tenure, earning the nickname “The Chief” for his stoic presence on the court.

3. Championships and Records

During his career, Parish won a total of four NBA championships, with three of them coming as a member of the influential Boston Celtics teams of the 1980s. He also set records for most games played in the NBA, with 1,611 regular-season games and 184 playoff games under his belt.

Dirk Nowitzki – The Ageless Scorer

1. Birthdate and NBA Debut

Dirk Nowitzki, born on June 19, 1978, in Wurzburg, West Germany, began his NBA journey in the 1998-1999 season with the Dallas Mavericks.

2. Stellar NBA Career

Nowitzki had a highly decorated NBA career, earning 14 All-Star selections and leading the Mavericks to their first-ever NBA championship in 2011. Known for his distinctive fadeaway shot, Nowitzki showcased unparalleled scoring ability throughout his career.

3. Retirement and Last NBA Game

Nowitzki played his final NBA game on April 10, 2019, at the age of 40. His farewell game was an emotional event, as he bid farewell to the league after 21 seasons, all spent with the Dallas Mavericks.

Other Notable Oldest NBA Players

1. Vince Carter

Vince Carter, born on January 26, 1977, in Daytona Beach, Florida, played a whopping 22 seasons in the NBA. Known for his incredible athleticism and dunking ability, Carter retired in 2020 at the age of 43.

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, originally known as Lew Alcindor, was born on April 16, 1947, in New York City. With a remarkable career that spanned 20 seasons, Abdul-Jabbar retired at the age of 42. He is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and won six championships during his illustrious career.

3. Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy, born on August 9, 1928, in New York City, had a significant impact on the game as a talented point guard. Playing in the NBA until the age of 41, Cousy retired in 1963 after a 13-season career. He won six championships with the Boston Celtics and was known for his exceptional ball-handling skills.

4. Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili, born on July 28, 1977, in Bahía Blanca, Argentina, showcased his talent in the NBA for 16 seasons. Known for his energy and crafty style of play, Ginobili retired in 2018 at the age of 41. He won four championships with the San Antonio Spurs and played a significant role in their success.


In conclusion, the oldest NBA players in history have left an indelible mark on the game and shattered the notion that age is a barrier to success. From George Mikan’s early dominance to Dirk Nowitzki’s ageless scoring ability, these players have shown that determination, skill, and a love for the game can drive remarkable longevity. As we recognize their contributions, we also acknowledge the impact of factors such as physical fitness, skill versatility, experience, and adapting to evolving game techniques and technology. The examples set by these players will continue to inspire future generations of athletes to push their own boundaries and strive for greatness, regardless of age.

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