NBA season is just around the corner. Look back at the legends who defied time, and an overview of the oldest active NBA players.
The NBA is an uptempo game with hundreds of points scored a night, and they run about 2.5 miles each game. All this to say that, as you get older, it is harder if it could be physically to hold up under these conditions for 82 regular season games, the playoffs, and a long career. But who are the oldest NBA players of all time?
Of course, though, there have been anomalies and players throughout the years that have stood the test of time and continue.
Below, we’ll list the ten oldest players in the 2023-24 season and also look back at some of the oldest players to suit up. Who is the oldest NBA player ever?
Oldest NBA Players for 2023-24 Season
10: Wesley Matthews, Atlanta Hawks
Just about to turn 37 at the time of this writing, Wesley Matthews is the 10th oldest player in the NBA, born October 14, 1986. He was drafted in 2009 by the Utah Jazz but played just one season there before going on to play for the Portland Trailblazers (2010-2015), Dallas Mavericks (2015-2019), but then landed on the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers that year.
He was traded from the Mavericks to the Knicks on January 31, 2019, as part of a package for Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Kristaps Porzingis, Trey Burke, and some draft picks.
Then, in 2019-20, he headed to Milwaukee for a season, to the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2020-21 season, and is now back with Milwaukee.
He’s played 14 seasons in the NBA and is headed into his 15th. Matthew’s made over $113 million so far in his career. He’s averaged 11.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game, averaging 29.6 minutes per outing.
9: Jeff Green, Houston Rockets
Recently turning 37, Jeff Green is another well-traveled player, playing for the following teams, in this order:
- Seattle Supersonics
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Boston Celtics
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Orlando Magic
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Utah Jazz
- Houston Rockets
- Brooklyn Nets
- Denver Nuggets
Yes, he was there for the final season of the Supersonics.
Green has averaged 12.4 points per game, in his career, with his best season coming in 2013-14. He averaged 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game.
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8: Rudy Gay, Golden State Warriors
Just 11 days older than Green, Gay started his career with the Memphis Grizzlies, playing there for seven seasons. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2006, but his draft rights were traded to the Grizzlies along with Stromile Swift for Shane Battier.
Then, he was part of a massive three-team trade, landing on the Toronto Raptors. In December 2013, he was dealt to the Sacramento Kings. He signed an extension with them before heading to the San Antonio Spurs.
He then played for the Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Today, he played for the Golden State Warriors, signing with them on September 28, 2023.
7: Al Horford, Boston Celtics
Drafted in 2007, Horford has primarily played for the Atlanta Hawks (nine seasons) and Boston Celtics (five seasons, currently there), but he made brief stops in Philadelphia and Oklahoma City between his stints with Boston. He signed with the 76ers in 2019, was traded by them to the Thunder, and then the Thunder traded him back to Boston in 2021.
On December 1, 2022, he signed an extension with Boston. He’s entering his sixth season with the team.
He’s made over $269 million in his NBA career.
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6: Garrett Temple, Toronto Raptors
A journeyman, Temple, 37, has played 716 games since the 2009-2010 season. He was out of the NBA for the 2011-12 season as he played overseas in Italy.
His best season came in 2019-20 with the Nets. He played nearly 28 minutes per game and averaged 10.3 points—his first and only season with an average in the double digits.
5: Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat
Now we’re into the top 5 oldest NBA players for this season.
Lowry played for three teams from the 2006-2007 season until 2020-21. He was drafted 24th overall in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies before getting traded in a three-team deal to the Houston Rockets on February 19, 2009. Lowry played there through the 2011-12 season before getting traded to the Raptors on July 11, 2012.
He played for the Raptors until August 6, 2021, when he was traded to the Miami Heat, where he’ll play at the start of the 2023-24 season.
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4: Taj Gibson, Washington Wizards
At 38, Gibson has averaged double-digit points in four seasons and played all 82 games twice. He spent eight seasons with the Chicago Bulls, three with the Knicks, two with the Timberwolves, and one with the Wizards and Thunder. He’s averaged 23.8 minutes per game in his career and just under six rebounds.
3: Chris Paul, Golden State Warriors
Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2005, Paul, also known as CP3, was dominant since Day 1. He’s never averaged less than 13.9 points per game, which happened last season late into his 30s.
Now 38 years old, Paul was infamously the centerpiece of a trade that would’ve sent him from the Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers, but then-commission David Stearn blocked the trade. He was ultimately dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers on December 14, 2011. He played there until he signed as a free agent with the Houston Rockets on July 7, 2018.
Since then, he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, three seasons with the Phoenix Suns, and will now play for the Golden State Warriors in 2023-24.
He’s made over $359 million in his NBA career.
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2: PJ Tucker, Philadelphia 76ers
Drafted 35th overall in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft, Tucker spent a lot of time in the G-Lague with the Colorado 14ers before heading overseas from 2007-12, playing in Israel, Ukraine, Greece, and Italy.
He returned to the NBA for the 2012-13 season, signing a multi-year deal with the Phoenix Suns, where he played until February 23, 2017. The Suns traded him to the Toronto Raptors. In June of that year, he signed with the Houston Rockets and played there until they traded him to the Bucks on March 19, 2021. He finished the season with them but then signed a deal with the Miami Heat for the 2021-22 season and played for the 76ers in 2022-23 and will play there this season, too.
He was the 2008 Israeli Basketball Premier League MVP, making over $67 million in his NBA career.
He’ll turn 39 during the season.
Oldest NBA Player for 2023-24: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
We’ve made it to the oldest NBA player for the 2023-24 season. Believe it or not, the oldest player on this list is arguably one of the best players in the league right now—LeBron James. Everyone knows how fantastic he is, playing for the Cavaliers, Heat, and the Lakers. Last season, James averaged 28.9 points per game as a 38-year-old. He’s over 100 days older than Walker and will be 39 during the season, too.
Look at these accolades:
- 19x All-Star
- 19x All-NBA
- 2003-04 Rookie of the Year
- 6x All-Defensive
- 4x Finals MVP
- 2007-08 Scoring Title
- 4 NBA Finals Championships
- 3x All-Star MVP
- 4x League MVP
He’s made over $434 million in his NBA career. He is easily a top-two player of all time, continuously battling with Michael Jordan for the No. 1 spot.
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Oldest NBA Players Ever
Now, we’ll look at the oldest NBA players to ever suit up and play in a live game. Who is the oldest NBA player ever to grace the court?
3: Robert Parish (43 years, 254 days), Chicago Bulls (1997)
Entering the league during the 1976-77 season, Parish played his final game with the Chicago Bulls on May 11, 1997, against the Atlanta Hawks. He played seven minutes and 42 seconds, missing all three shots as well as registering two rebounds. He’s one of the Oldest NBA players in history.
2: Kevin Willis (44 years, 224 days), Dallas Mavericks (2007)
Drafted 11th overall in the 1984 NBA Draft, Willis was more than 100 days removed from turning 45 when played for the Dallas Mavericks during the 2006-07 season. He played in just five games, averaging 2.4 points per game.
His final game was on April 18, 2007, against the Seattle Supersonics. He played more than 14 minutes, making three of seven shots, and had four rebounds.
Oldest NBA Player: Nat Hickey (45 years, 363 days), Providence Steamrollers (1948)
Going back to 1948, Nat Hickey (shown on the left) was the coach of the Providence Steamrollers when he decided to insert himself into the lineup for two games during the 1947-48 season. He attempted six shots, missed all of them, but made two free throws. He is the oldest NBA player of all time.