Age is only a number. they say. For some freakish athletes, that is especially true-- age is merely an obstacle to overcome for these whose competitive fire simply won't go out.
Playing high-level professional sports past age 40 is an iconic milestone no matter who you are. In basketball, it's particularly impressive given the aerial nature of the game. With that in mind, let's identify six proud members of the over-40 club of past and present who have proven against all odds that Father Time isn't exactly undefeated.
6. Vince Carter
Vince Carter turned 41 in January. The oldest active player in the NBA, he's shown that age has done anything but motivate him. Carter has bounced around among eight franchises during his career but every team always appreciated the veteran's skills, and he's a valuable .locker room presence wherever he goes. Carter is playing like a man far younger than he is, and could keep going beyond this season if he really wanted to.
5. Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili isn't as agile as he was during the good old days, but the iconic Euro-stepper still plays just as hard. Ginobili played a large part in winning his four championships with the Spurs, and will always be a franchise great. Last season at the age of 40, Ginobili proved that he still has some juice left in him by scoring 26 points off of six three pointers back in January against the Blazers. That's just not normal.
4. Robert Parish
Robert Parish retired at the age of 43, granting him unmatched seniority on this list. He played for three teams during his career, but is most remembered for his contributions with the Celtics. The Chief won three titles with the Celts and capped off his legacy by winning his forth and final championship with the 1997 Bulls. Playing with Rick Barry, Larry Bird, Alonzo Mourning, and Michael Jordan? That's seriously impressive.
3. John Stockton
Although he never won a championship in his career, John Stockton was successful in quite a number of ways. He was a 40-year-old man who played in all 82 games of the 2002-03 season, his last in the league, which honestly just seems inhumane. The 10-time All-Star is also remembered for being the all-time leader for assists and steals, and will always be one of the greatest point guards ever to do it.
2. Karl Malone
The Mailman spent 18 seasons with the Utah Jazz and his final season with the Lakers. His 36,928 career points scored have him ranked second all time behind no other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He earned MVP twice and despite not winning a championship, had an unforgettable career. Malone, whose partnership with Stockton is the stuff of legend, leaves behind an incredible legacy of dominance and longevity.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar easily is the king of the over-40 club for too many reasons to count. Not only does he still hold the record for the most All-Star appearances with an incredible 19, but also took home more rings than one hand can wear. He was a player who was still running the floor even in his forties, and his stamina pushed him to play until he was 42.