Once upon a time, LeBron James was one of the youngest players in the NBA. Flash forward to 18 years later, the King is now featured among the oldest in the league. While LeBron remains one of the best players in the NBA, you can’t stop Father Time. It eventually catches up to all of us.
As the league prepares for another NBA season, some players will be looking to make their first mark on the league’s history, while others have played the game longer than other players have been alive. Among the players in the league, four 18-year olds will begin their first-ever season. Just one player will be listed in his 40s.
The NBA Draft supplemented the league with new youth, while others have remained steadfast over the years. When it comes down to it, what is better? Newness or longevity? We will let you decide. Here are the youngest and oldest players set to take the stage for the upcoming season.
Top 10 Youngest NBA Players In The League
10. Daishen Nix - 19 years, 209 days
At Trinity High School in Las Vegas, Nix led his team to the National Christian School Athletic Association Division I title and was named the Player of the Year. He fielded offers from the likes of Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland before committing to play for UCLA. However, later in his senior year, he de-committed from UCLA and forgo his college eligibility to join the NBA G League Ignite.
Nix averaged 8.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game for the Ignite. After going undrafted, Nix joined the Philadelphia 76ers for Summer League but was waived. He eventually signed a contract with the Houston Rockets.
9. Usman Garuba - 19 years, 185 days
Garuba was 12 years old when he started to dabble with the professional league in Real Madrid. He eventually worked his way up to making his EuroLeague debut in 2019. One year later, he was the ACB Best Young Player and earned Rising Star honors in the playoffs.
In the 2016 European Championships, Garuba won Gold with the U16 team and then won gold in 2019 with the U18 team. After a successful showing with Spain in the Olympics, the Rockets used one of their first-round picks to draft him No. 23 overall.
8. Keon Johnson - 19 years, 184 days
Johnson was a five-star recruit that fielded offers from Ohio State and Virginia before committing to play college basketball for Tennessee. He was the highest-rated player in the state of Tennessee and the first five-star recruit to recruit at the college level since Robert Hubbs III in 2013.
As a freshman, Johnson averaged 11.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. He recorded the highest max vertical leap in combine history at 48 inches. Johnson was drafted No. 21 overall by the New York Knicks and then traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
7. Moses Moody - 19 years, 102 days
Moody fielded offers from Michigan and Virginia after finishing high school as a four-star recruit. He committed to play Arkansas and became the highest-rated player to commit to the school since Bobby Portis in 2013. His best performance came in the SEC Tournament semifinals with 28 points in a loss to LSU.
As a freshman, Moody averaged 16.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and given First Team All-SEC honors. Moody was drafted No. 14 overall by the Golden State Warriors.
6. Alperen Sengun - 19 years, 47 days
Sengun joined the youth teams in Turkey at the age of 10. He worked his way to joining the national team. He won bronze with Turkey with the U16 team and then silver in 2019 with the U18 team. Last year, Sengun played in the BSL and won the league’s MVP after averaging 18.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks in 34 games.
Sengun also played with Besiktas in the fourth-level wide competition, the FIBA Europe Cup. There, he averaged 23.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals, and 2.0 blocks in three games. Sengun was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 16 overall and traded to the Rockets for two future first-round picks.
5. J.T. Thor - 19 years, 15 days
In high school, Thor was a four-star recruit that chose Auburn over Oklahoma State. His best showing was a 24 point, nine-rebound performance in a loss to Kentucky. Thor averaged 9.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks.
Thor was selected No. 37 overall by the Detroit Pistons and traded to the Charlotte Hornets with Mason Plumlee. Listed at 6-foot-10 and 205 pounds, Thor is a large physical specimen despite being freshly 19 years old.
4. Jaden Springer - 18 years, 350 days
Springer began receiving Division I basketball scholarships as a freshman. As a sophomore, he emerged as one of the top players in the 2020 class. He later chose to play at Tennessee over Michigan and Memphis. His college career-high 30 points in an 89-81 win over Georgia.
As a freshman, Springer averaged 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game, earning SEC All-Freshman Team Honors. Springer was then drafted No. 28 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.
3. Jonathan Kuminga - 18 years, 339 days
Kuminga received offers from Texas Tech, Auburn, Duke, and Kentucky, but ultimately joined the G League Ignite. Kuminga signed a one-year contract and made his debut in February 2021. He recorded 19 points, four rebounds, and four assists. For the season, Kuminga averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists.
In the draft, Kuminga was drafted No. 7 overall by the Golden State Warriors. He is regarded as one of the best prospects from the draft.
2. Josh Giddey - 18 years, 335 days
Giddey will be the second-youngest player in the NBA this season, but being young isn’t something new. Giddey has been an Australian basketball star for years. Giddey was recruited by Arizona but signed with the Adelaide 36ers of the NBA. He finished the season averaging 10.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, and a league-leading 7.6 assists per game in 28 games.
Giddey was selected as the league’s Rookie of the Year. He was drafted by the Thunder with the No. 6 overall pick. Giddey’s return is up in the air as he sustained an injury during Summer League.
1. Joshua Primo - 18 years, 260 days
Primo was once upon a time the youngest player for the U19 Canadian squad at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Primo was also the youngest player in college basketball last year after representing the University of Alabama. He averaged 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds.
Primo was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and selected No. 12 overall by the San Antonio Spurs. He will enter this season as the youngest player in the NBA, playing for the oldest head coach in the league, Gregg Popovich.
Top 10 Oldest NBA Players In The League
10. LaMarcus Aldridge - 36 years, 53 days
Thanks to Aldridge coming out of retirement, he will make the top-10 oldest players in the league. Despite that team not existing, nobody can deny the wear and tear that Aldridge has since joining the league as the No. 2 overall pick in 2006.
Aldridge spent many years forming an All-Star resume before joining the San Antonio Spurs, where he played in the Western Conference Finals in 2017. Aldridge has never played in an NBA Finals, which is why he joined the Brooklyn Nets last year; however, a heart condition forced him to retire. Now, he is medically cleared and ready to try and win one title before leaving the league for good.
9. Trevor Ariza - 36 years, 72 days
Ariza has become a veteran journeyman at this point in his career. In the last four seasons, Ariza has played for the Rockets, Suns, Wizards, Kings, Trail Blazers, and Heat. Ariza joins a Los Angeles Lakers squad that features numerous veterans on the team.
Ariza won an NBA championship with the Lakers in 2009 when he played alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Now, he is hopeful to return to the glory days with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
8. Taj Gibson - 36 years, 78 days
How long has Tom Thibodeau been a head coach in the league? If you guess the length of Gibson’s career, then you might be able to get that answer right too. Since Gibson came into the league, he has played most of his seasons with Thibs with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, and now the New York Knicks.
Towards the end of the season, Gibson was closing out games with the Knicks. He continues to serve a key piece coming off the bench. Despite never winning a Sixth Man of the Year, he remains a critical piece of an NBA roster. Also, how about Gibson being six days older than Ariza?
7. Chris Paul - 36 years, 127 days
Paul nearly tasted his first championship ring this season. After leading the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals, the Bucks forced Paul to remain without a championship for another season. Despite his age, his form appeared to be good enough to score a four-year extension with the team.
After breaking into the league in 2005, Paul owns franchise records for assists and steals with the Hornets (Pelicans) and Clippers. Paul has enjoyed stops with the Thunder and Rockets as well, continuing showing he is a Hall of Famer player. Even though Paul appears on this top-10 list, he isn’t going anywhere over the next four to five years.
6. PJ Tucker - 36 years, 128 days
Tucker is the sixth-oldest player in the league by just one day. After a five-year layoff from the NBA from 2007 to 2012, Tucker returned to the league. After a few stints with the Suns and Raptors, Tucker grew to fame with his run with the Rockets as a lockdown defender. Despite never winning an All-Defensive Team award, Tucker was worth a first-round pick to join the Bucks this season.
Tucker was a key piece for the Bucks at the deadline and grew to be a fan favorite on the Bucks’ championship run. Tucker now plays with the Heat and could help Miami be one of the grittiest teams in the NBA.
5. Marc Gasol - 36 years, 224 days
Gasol joined the Lakers last year after a two-year run with the Toronto Raptors, which featured an NBA championship. Gasol was thought to be a defensive veteran upgrade for the bench, but his role diminished as Montrezl Harrell and Andre Drummond ate away playing time.
Marc Gasol was traded today to the Memphis Grizzlies, and per Adrian Wojnarowski, he will become a free agent and stay in Spain. The big man didn't have the best tenure with the Lakers, sparking a lot of rumors about his future when the team added two centers in Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan.
4. LeBron James - 36 years, 254 days
LeBron James was once the youngest player in the league after being drafted in 2003 as the No. 1 overall pick. It’s hard to believe that the former 18-year old is now 36, going on 37 years old. What else is there to say about the four-time MVP and Finals MVP. Now, he is trying to do something that even Michael Jordan never did.
Jordan was 35 when he won his last title with the Chicago Bulls. James is seeking his fifth title this year and would be one of the oldest players ever to lead a team to a title.
3. Carmelo Anthony - 37 years, 104 days
How old are the Los Angeles Lakers you ask? Four players on our top-10 list are on the roster and should be expecting major playing time. Anthony joined the Lakers on a one-year deal with hopes of playing in his first NBA Finals. The closest Anthony has ever come was over a decade ago in his Denver Nuggets days.
Anthony, like LeBron, was in the 2003 NBA Draft. Despite All-NBA appearances, a scoring title, and many top-10 highlights on SportsCenter, Anthony hasn’t won a ring. He’s hopeful he gets to win that ring with his longtime friend in LeBron.
2. Andre Iguodala - 37 years, 225 days
Iguodala, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, was a key part of the Golden State Warriors dynasty that reached the NBA Finals each year from 2015 to 2019. With Klay Thompson returning for the first time in two years, the dynasty is hoping the gang's back together. The second-oldest player in the league will figure to play a significant role for the team once again.
Despite being the second-oldest player in the league, one could argue that Iguodala is the most valuable oldest player in the league. Iguodala still brings a defensive power to the team and knows the Warriors system inside and out.
1. Udonis Haslem - 41 years, 93 days
The only 40-year old in the league never seems to want to leave. Haslem has played just 45 games the last five years but will have a role with the Miami Heat as long as he wants to be in the league. The Heat brass believe that Haslem brings a coaching role to a team that he has played for since 2003.
Will Haslem ever get a statue or his jersey erected in Miami? That’s a topic for another time. With that said, Haslem was a part of all three championship teams and has participated in five NBA Finals appearances. If anyone deserves a farewell tour, it’s Haslem.