From fossils that played during the BAA years to guys who played just a few years ago, here are the oldest guys to ever play in the NBA.
Number 16 – Danny Schayes, 40 years and 3 days
Born in 1959, son of NBA Hall of famer Dolph Schayes, Danny played in the NBA from 1981 to 1999. He played for the Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and finished his career playing three season for the Orlando Magic. He spent most of the 1980’s and his best years with the Nuggets, finishing with career averages of 7.7 points and 5 rebounds per game.
Number 15 – Michael Jordan, 40 Years and 58 days
You know this guy, right? During his final NBA season with the Washington Wizards, after his second comeback out of retirement, at the age of 39-40, Jordan still averaged 20 points a night while playing 37 minutes per game. From 1984-1998 he was with the Chicago Bulls, winning six NBA Titles, Six Finals’ MVPs, six regular season MVPs and 10 scoring titles. The greatest of all time, as we like to mention from time to time. Career average – 30.1 points per game, highest of all time.
Number 14 – Charles Oakley, 40 Years and 106 days
Born in 1963, Charles Oakley spent 19 seasons in the NBA, mostly known for his time with the New York Knicks between 1988-1998, but he also made his mark with the Bulls, Raptors, Wizards and to a tiny extent, the Rockets. Oakley made his only All-Star game in 1994 and was mostly known for his toughness, rebounding and defense throughout his career, finishing with 9.7 points and 9.5 rebounds averages after nearly 1300 games.
Number 13 – Cliff Robinson, 40 Years and 147 days
A one time All-Star and the 1993 sixth man of the year, Cliff Robinson spent 18 seasons in the NBA, beginning his career with the Blazers, making two Finals appearances. He became the team’s leading scorer during a couple of post-Drexler seasons before moving on to Phoenix, Detroit, Golden State and New Jersey. He made the playoffs 17 out of 18 times and was the tallest player in NBA history to make at least 1000 three pointers until Dirk Nowitzki came along.
Number 12 – James Edwards, 40 Years and 187 days
The Fu Manchu stylin’ Big man played 19 seasons in the NBA with eight different teams, finishing with three NBA titles while playing for the Pistons and Bulls (his final year). He also played for the Lakers, Pacers, Cavs, Suns, Clippers and Blazers, finishing with career averages of 12.7 points and 5.1 rebounds.
Number 12 – John Long, 40 Years, 235 days
The original backourt partner to Isiah Thomas before Joe Dumars arrived, John Long actually returned to the Pistons in 1989 to play a tiny role in their NBA title winning season. He also spent some years with the Pacers, Hawks, Raptors and some CBA and European follies. Mostly, he was a bench player for the Pistons, finishing his career averaging 13.6 points per game.
Number 11 – Rick Mahorn, 40 Years and 244 days
Another relic from the 1989 Bad Boyz team, Mahorn played for the Bullets before arriving to Detroit in 1985, establishing himself as the “Baddest Bad Boy of them all” and along with Isiah was the team leader of the 1989 championship winning team. He got traded the next year to the Sixers, spent a year in Italy and returned to the NBA to play with the Nets and also with the Pistons and 76ers again.
Number 10 – Karl Malone, 40 Years and 325 days
The second hall of fame player in our list, Karl Malone spent 18 of his 19 NBA season with the Utah Jazz. He went for a title push in his last year with the Los Angeles Lakers, that failed, and he retired as the second highest scorer in the league behind Kareem, one MVP award, 14 All-Star appearances and 11 All-NBA First team selections, but no NBA title. He finished with a career average of 25 points and 10.1 rebounds.
Number 9 – Charles “Gadget” Jones, 41 Years and 30 days
No exactly a rare name among NBA players along the years, Charles Jones began his NBA career when he was 26, spending time in the CBA and Europe before he got his big break. Always known for his blocking ability and not his scoring or anything else for that matter, Jones won one NBA title with the Rockets, retiring two years later. He also spent time with the Sixers, Bulls, Bullets and the Pistons. He averaged 2.5 points and 1.6 blocks during his career.
Number 8 – John Stockton, 41 Years and 35 days
The second half of the Jazz greatest duo, John Stockton is the NBA’s all time leader in assists and steals, by a huge margin, although it doesn’t look like Jason Kidd plans on retiring anytime soon. Stockton played 19 years in the NBA, making two NBA finals and 10 All-Star games. He finished with nearly 20,000 career points and over 15,000 assists and probably more impressively, he played 96.5% of possible games throughout his career, playing the full 82 schedule 15 times.
Number 7 – Herb Williams, 41 Years and 129 days
Herb Williams began his NBA career in 1981 and along the years played for the Pacers, Mavericks, Raptors and Knicks. He is actually still with the Knicks as an assistant coach. He made two NBA finals with the Knicks in 1994 and 1999, finishing his career averaging 10.8 points and 5.9 rebounds.
Number 6 – Bob Cousy, 41 Years and 150 days
One of the greatest player of all time and the first great ones of the early age, Cousy played 13 seasons with the Celtics and one more with the Cincinnati Royals. A one time MVP and six time NBA Champion, Cousy led the league in assists for eight consecutive years, when the assist count was a lot harsher than it is today. He finished his career averaging 18.4 points and 7.5 assists per game.
Number 5 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 42 Years and 6 days
The greatest Center of all time in my opinion, Jabbar played 21 seasons in the NBA, playing his best basketball during his less successful years with the Bucks, winning one NBA title and 3 MVP awards. He left for the Lakers in 1975, winning five NBA titles there only when Magic Johnson arrived. Kareem was still averaging over 10 points per game in his 40’s and 23.4 points per game in his 38th year. He has more MVP awards (6) and career points (38,387) than anyone else.
Number 4 – Dikembe Mutombo, 42 Years, 300 Days
One of the greatest defensive players in history, Mutombo won 4 DPOY awards. He began his career in 1991, playing for the Nuggets, Hawks, Sixers, Nets, Knicks and Rockets. He finished his career averaging 9.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game.
Number 3 – Robert Parish, 43 Years and 254 days
A four time NBA Champion and the league’s all time leader in games played (1611), “The Chief” played in the NBA for 21 season, beginning with the Warriors, moving on to the Boston Celtics for 14 very successful years, before two seasons with the Hornets and one final championship run with the Chicago Bulls. He finished his career with 14.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Number 2 – Kevin Willis, 44 Years and 224 days
Kevin Willis spent 23 seasons in the NBA. Well actually 22, missing the entire 1988-1989 season. He spent the first half of his career with the Atlanta Hawks alongside Dominique Wilkins before beginning his long journey between NBA teams – Miami, Golden State, Houston, Toronto, Denver, San Antonio and the Mavs. He made the All-Star game once in 1992 and won one NBA title, playing with the Spurs in 2003.
Number 1 – Nat Hickey, 45 Years 363 days
Well, Hickey actually played in the pro leagues before the NBA formed. He later became the head coach of the Providence Steamrollers, a BAA team, a league that formed into the NBA. He decided to activate himself for one game only, enough to make him, still, the oldest player ever in NBA history.