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15 Basketball Players That Are Older Than You Think

Have you ever been watching a sporting event, saw a player and wondered how old that player was? Thanks to the magic of the internet, it only takes a few seconds to look up a player’s age and the results can be a bit surprising at times. There are players in sports out there that a lot of people assume are in their younger years because they were late bloomers or it simply doesn’t seem that they have been in the league that long if the age is higher than you thought it would be.

While baseball might lead the way in terms of sports where fans look up someone’s age and think “wow, I didn’t know he was that old,” Basketball is probably right behind it on the list. A lot of that has to do with the rules in place for rookies where you have to be one year removed from your high school graduation before you can be drafted in the NBA.

It used to be that you could go straight to the NBA out of high school, a rule that was changed a decade ago. There are still some players in the league that were drafted under the old eligibility rules that are now older than you might think.

Here, we have 15 current NBA players that are likely older than you thought they were. Whether it be a resurgence late in their careers, former high school and college standouts or those that have youthful personalities, these players are definitely hiding their age well.

15 Trevor Ariza - 31

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

We start the list with a player that has an NBA ring, but you probably forgot all about it already. It seems that Trevor Ariza is so young because it wasn’t until the 2009-10 season that he started to step up his game, and he has scored at least 10.8 points per game in every season but one since then. A lot of people have forgotten that it took Ariza seven seasons in the league with minimal starting time before he finally got his opportunity to stand out more in Houston.

14 Pau Gasol - 35

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of people figured that Pau Gasol was already over 30 years old since it seems that he has been in the NBA forever, but did you know that he’s already 35 years old and turns 36 during the first week of July 2016? Yet, there is a still a market for the seven foot Spaniard that should have already faced a massive downturn in his production, but it just hasn’t happened. Even this past season with the Bulls, Gasol averaged 16.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per game in one of the quietest age 35 seasons in NBA history. He was so good, he even made the All Star game!

13 James Jones - 35

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

One of the running jokes in the NBA is that James Jones simply cannot lose and it has a lot to do with the fact that he has followed LeBron James for several years. Jones has never been a star player, but he has only missed the playoffs once during his career. However, he has stood out as a member of playoff teams, particularly in Miami when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were reaching the NBA Finals every year.

12 Bojan Bogdanovic - 27

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2014-15 season, Bojan Bogdanovic put together a solid campaign for the Brooklyn Nets by averaging 9.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, which allowed him to become a member of the All-Rookie Second Team in 2015. Bogdanovic followed it up with another solid season, improving on his numbers in 2015-16 with 11.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Some might think that the future looks very bright for Bogdanovic, but he has already hit his prime and is currently 27 years old.

11 Pablo Prigioni - 39

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of foreign born players that seemingly took forever to make it to the NBA, try this one on for size. Pablo Prigioni is an Argentine that spent much of his professional career playing in his home country and in Spain. Prigioni was eligible for the NBA Draft all the way back in 1999, but his name was never called. Since that time, Prigioni has played for teams that include Real Madrid and Caja Laboral.

10 Carmelo Anthony - 32

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of talking heads around the NBA, and a lot of Knicks fans, are still referring to Carmelo Anthony as a guy that you can build your franchise’s future around. After hearing all of that chatter, you might look up how old he is and be shocked to find out that Melo is already 32 years old. That’s not a number that you want to hear, but it makes sense that he’s that old knowing that he has been to nine All-Star Games.

9 Chris Paul - 31

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Just like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul is another one of those players that is still considered someone that can have an entire franchise built around them. Also like Anthony, Paul is on the wrong side of 30 and turned 31 years old in May 2016. The similarities don’t end there as Paul has been to nine All-Star Games as well and has a massive slew of awards throughout his career on top of that.

8 J.J. Redick - 32

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Another Clipper that is older than you probably thought, J.J. Redick is one of those players that you just assume is young because his best days came while he was in college and it really wasn’t all that long ago. Redick was one of the most hated players in all of college basketball while he was at Duke and had his jersey number retired by the school. Redick spent all four years at Duke and was drafted 11th overall in 2006 by the Orlando Magic.

7 David Lee - 33

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Do you remember the summer of 2010? It was perhaps the biggest free agent class in NBA history as everyone was interested to see “The Decision” from LeBron James. Another player that teams and fans were hoping to see come to their franchise was David Lee. Lee had become a full time starter for the New York Knicks in the 2008-09 season and, during the 2009-10 season, he was putting up 20.2 points with 11.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

6 Dwight Howard - 30

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe it’s because a lot of people say things like Dwight Howard is just a kid and has a lot of growing up to do (yes, still to this day) that makes him seem so young. However, Howard is already 30 years old and he will be turning 31 during the early part of the 2016-17 season. Howard seems young because of his demeanor and the fact that he went to the NBA straight out of college, but it might come as a shock that he was the first overall pick back in 2004 (the year is the shocking part).

5 LaMarcus Aldridge - 30

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest free agent of last year’s offseason, LaMarcus Aldridge made a huge splash when he signed with the San Antonio Spurs for four years and $84 million. While it was seen as a bit of youth movement for a team that had aging stars like Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, they were actually adding another player that would be on the wrong side of 30 years old within weeks of signing him.

4 LeBron James - 31

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, so you probably knew that LeBron James was already 31 years old and will be 32 early in the 2016-17 NBA season, but if you’re like me, you simply don’t want to admit it. For many of us, LeBron is seen as a timeless legend that will be remembered long, long after his NBA career has come to an end. It also seems like his age would be lower since he was drafted straight out of high school, but even that came back in 2003.

3 Nick Young - 31

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Casual NBA fans would definitely be surprised to learn that Nick Young is already 31 years old. Why is it such a surprise? Because there aren’t a lot of 30 somethings that call themselves “Swaggy P” and get engaged to 26 year old rappers. There is also the fact that seemingly nobody knew who Young was until he arrived in Los Angeles to play with the Lakers despite having his best years with the Wizards.

2 Stephen Curry - 28

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t a knock on those that are just starting to get into the NBA, but let’s face it, there are a lot of new viewers watching because of Stephen Curry. Curry’s past couple of seasons have been phenomenal and his 2015-16 campaign was one of the best offensive performances of all-time. People who had never watched an NBA game before were tuning in just to see the types of crazy shots that Curry was getting to hit from half court.

1 Kyle Lowry - 30

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Lowry was supposedly one of the best point guards coming out of high school in 2004 and spent just two seasons at Villanova. He was still a raw player and not projected to go very high, which is why he had to wait until the 24th pick in 2006 to hear the Grizzlies call his name. Hearing those years, you could probably guess that Lowry is already 30 years old, but a lot of people completely forget that part of Lowry’s career.

Lowry was riding the bench for much of his Memphis days since they already had Mike Conley Jr., so Lowry was dealt to the Rockets, where he would spend four seasons. Lowry had a decent impact, but it wasn’t until he arrived in Toronto that he became a star. Before joining Toronto in 2012-13, Lowry’s career high in scoring was 14.3 points per game. In the past three seasons, Lowry has been scoring at least 17.8 points per game and just hit 21.2 per game in 2015-16.

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15 Basketball Players That Are Older Than You Think