Five oldest players to appear in an NBA game & the oldest active players

Udonis Haslem
Udonis Haslem remains on the Miami Heat roster - he's one of the oldest NBA players. Photo from Fox.

It’s crazy to think that the oldest NBA player isn’t even in the Hall of Fame. I mean, playing until your late 40s should get you some love, but that’s not the case. That tells you just enough about how good you have to be to be inducted.

Unlike  happens with other sports, the oldest NBA players of all-time were actually quite productive until their final days in the league. That’s impressive, as the speed, quick first-step, and athleticism seem to be the first things to go away.

Oldest NBA player

As for the oldest NBA players right now, well, we have LeBron James among the list, which is pretty much self-explanatory. James is coming off an All-Star season and continues to be one of the best players in the league, so it’s clear that some ballers age like a fine wine.

With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at the list of oldest NBA players right now, as well as the oldest NBA players of all-time.

Oldest active NBA players

Oldest NBA players of all-time

5. Dikembe Mutombo (C) – 42 years, 300 days

Dikembe Mutombo was one of the most dominant defensive forces of all time. He finished his career as the second leading shot-blocker in NBA history with 3,289, averaging 2.89 swats per game. Mutombo is also tied with Ben Wallace for the most Defensive Player of the Year awards.

The Congolese big man and his signature finger-wag were opposing team’s biggest nightmares. He anchored the paint like few others in the history of the league, leading the NBA in rebounds in back-to-back seasons and three straight years in blocks.

4. Vince Carter (G/F) – 43 years, 45 days

Half man-half amazing. Vince Carter put the Toronto Raptors on the map and should get plenty of credit for Canada’s growing love for basketball. While he was never able to win an NBA Championship and the second half of his career wasn’t exactly impressive, some say he’s got a case for the Hall of Fame.

Considered one of the greatest dunkers of all time, Vince Carter holds the record for most seasons played at 22. He’s also the only player to make an appearance in 4 decades (1990, 2000, 2010, 2020) and made the All-Star team 8 times.


3. Robert Parish (C) – 43 years, 254 days

If we talk about durability, then we definitely have to talk about Robert Parish. The Boston Celtics legend holds the record for most regular season games played (1,611) and he was a huge factor in their postseason success, winning 4 NBA championships, 3 of those in Boston.

While never a superstar, Parish was a synonym of efficiency and poise on both ends of the court. He scored over 23,000 career points and averaged 14.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game, making it to 9 All-Star selections.

2. Kevin Willis (F/C) – 44 years, 224 days

Kevin Willis isn’t exactly the most famous player of all time. In fact, most fans don’t know who he is, and he’s more known for being a successful business owner at Willis & Walker, a company specialized in clothing for very, very big and tall people.

But Willis actually holds the record for most games played by all players not in the Hall of Fame (1,424). Willis had a breakout year in 1992 when he averaged 15.5 rebounds per game and became an All-Star. He also won the NBA Championship in 2003 with the Spurs.

1. Nat Hickey (G/F) – 45 years, 363 days

Nicholas J. “Nat” Hickey is the oldest NBA player of all-time. He served as a player-coach and played a couple of games for the Providence Steamrollers of the Basketball Association of America (BAA). He was 2 days away from turning 46 the last time he played.

The Croatian-American guard/forward played for the Hoboken St. Joseph’s, Eddie Holly’s Majors, New York Crescents, Cleveland Rosenblums, Chicago Bruins, Original Celtics, Boston Trojans, Pittsburgh Raiders, Indianapolis Kautskys, Buffalo Braves / Tri-Cities Blackhawks, and Providence Steamrollers. He was also a baseball player.

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