This season has brought about a lot of talk to do with ‘Father Time’ and how he remains undefeated. The unfortunate end to Steve Nash’s season before it began; the constant talk of Kobe Bryant’s ability to perform at a high level after two major surgeries; the seasons future Hall of Famers Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are expected to have. Each brings an intriguing story line to a season already full of them. So, which NBA players have previously gained access to the ever elusive ‘fountain of youth’? Here are a few:
‘The Chief’, as he was affectionately known, played for four teams in his 21 seasons in the NBA, most notably the Boston Celtics of the 1980s era with fellow Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. Parish holds the record for most NBA regular season games with 1611 appearances. He was a nine-time All-Star and won four NBA titles. His career finally ended in 1997 with a title, riding the coattails of Michael Jordan, at the age of 43. Production-wise, after his final season in Boston in 1994, Parish only started in 41 games over the final three seasons of his career.
Six NBA titles, six-time NBA MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 19-time All-Star, most points in a career, most minutes in a career— the list goes on. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a superstar in the NBA for 20 years. He won a championship with Oscar Robertson at the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971 and then went on to win five more championships with the Showtime Lakers throughout the 1980s. Kareem’s incredible offensive numbers over the course of his career (he averaged 24.6 PPG in his 20 seasons) were possible thanks to the most unstoppable shot in NBA history, his signature ‘skyhook’. Shooting over 55 per cent from the field for his career, he averaged double digits in points every season he played and is considered by some as the greatest to have ever played the game. Having said all that, nothing compares to the Kareem that fought Bruce Lee in Game of Death. That was awesome.
The all-time leader in assists and steals is the best example of durability in the NBA’s history. Out of a possible 1526 regular season games Stockton played in 1504 of them. Part of arguably the best pick and roll combo in league history, Stockton dazzled the NBA with his ability to provide on time and on target passes for such a long period. Stockton averaged double digit assists for 10 straight years between 1987/88 and 1996/97. He also made two consecutive NBA Finals appearances with the Jazz, although he was never able to win a ring in the end. He retired after 19 seasons in the league, all with the Utah Jazz, at age 41. Just a fun fact, in his final season, he still played 27 minutes per game. As a 41-year-old? Astonishing.
‘The Mailman’ had sheer strength and size and overpowered anyone that got in his way. A two-time NBA MVP, put Malone in another era and he probably would have won multiple championships. In his 19-year career Malone averaged 25 PPG and 10 RPG. Malone also made the All-Star team 14 times and was All-NBA First Team 11 straight years. ‘The Mailman’ finally called it quits at age 41 after a failed attempt to win a title with the Lakers in 2004.
It wasn’t until the age of 38 that Jason Kidd was able to scale the NBA mountain en route to an NBA Championship. Third all-time in minutes played, Kidd was the definition of toughness at the point guard spot. After making back-to-back Finals appearances with the Nets in 2002 and 2003, Kidd was denied his chance at glory by the Lakers and the Spurs. But nearly a decade later, with fellow future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki, he won an NBA title. Later in his career, Kidd became a deadly perimeter shooter thanks to the help of his friend and teammate Nowitzki. A 10-time All-Star, Kidd is third all-time in triple-doubles behind Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson. He is also second all-time in assists behind John Stockton. After 19 seasons Kidd retired at age 40 and immediately jumped into a job as a head coach.