Every NBA fan has iconic images of their favorite players in their prime. That image will always stick in your head, even as the years pass by. But then, reality sets in and you see that player in an exclusive interview and realize, holy moly, he looks old AF. What have the years done to you!
Now, we should mention that aging is nothing to be ashamed of, as it's inevitable and will happen to anybody. There's just something about seeing former NBA stars aging so much that leaves an effect on you. After all, you grew up watching some of these guys and in some cases, maybe even your parents grew up watching them!
Some are able to age more gracefully than others, and while some of these guys may look old, a lot of them are actually still in tremendous shape and getting old can't take away what they did for the game of basketball. At the same time, you can't help but take a look at them and go, yikes!
We will step into some all-time greats, all-stars to be exact, and how they got to the point they are today. Some of the reasons behind their advanced maturity and why they look old AF.
16 Bill Russell – Age 83
When it comes to the greatest in NBA history, some people will get into a physical altercation between MJ and LeBron. But let’s all be honest, if rings were the deciding factor, Bill Russell would have 11 valid arguments. He also was a 12-time all-star and brought home an Olympic gold. Obviously, this legend makes our list because he doesn’t just look old AF, he is old AF. He's 83 to be exact. I mean, he has that classic grandfather look; full of random war stories and wisdom. Somewhere, he is sitting on his front porch yelling at the local kids to get off his lawn.
In Celtics lore, he stands as one of the greatest Bostonians ever. But let’s all be honest, he could be Morgan Freeman’s stunt double. I can hear him saying “I wish I could tell you that LeBron fought the good fight, and the players let him be. I wish I could tell you that - but the NBA is no fairy-tale world."
15 Vince Carter – Age 40
Vinsanity makes our list for one reason; his longevity. The dude has been in the league since Viagra was approved. That is not an exaggeration. Vince Carter’s NBA career, which is still trucking on, is the same age as Viagra. Try getting that through your head. He looks good for a 40-year old, but if you are like me, you still have that youthful image of him honey-dipping the rim in the 2000 slam dunk contest.
Carter, the 8-time all-star, continues to slap father time across the face and furthers his career with the Sacramento Kings in 2017. I wouldn’t be surprised if he outlasts the entire Philadelphia 76ers young, injury-prone roster. Still though, we can't help but notice just how Carter has aged right before our very eyes.
14 Charles Barkley – Age 54
Oh, Sir Charles! How we love your banter with Big Diesel on TNT. But seriously man, you let yourself go. You look “Turrible!” Still, probably the greatest player to never win an NBA Championship.
Now to get into some of the habits that led Charles to his sharp decline. Before being in the NBA, he claimed to put on 20 lbs. in 48 hours to avoid being drafted by Philadelphia, which he was drafted by the 76ers anyway. Other reports have also claimed that he has lost up to $30 million gambling. $30 million! He even stated that he could lose up to $200,000 in Vegas and still “have a good time.” What!? Are you Crazy? $200,000? Now I don’t feel so bad for the way he looks.
13 Ben Wallace – Age 42
Once a defensive force, the undersized center now looks like the years have taken their toll. 42 years old, gray hair, and booked for a DUI and gun charges in 2011, what a mess! The Detroit Pistons 4-time all-star and NBA Champion was sentenced to a year in jail in 2014 after fleeing the scene of accident in Richmond, Virginia as well.
During his playing career, he won defensive player of the year four times and is the Pistons all-time leader in blocks. But Wallace is even more famous for his wild ‘fro, which was parallel to his wild, all out style of play. Nowadays, Wallace just hopes the Pistons can have a winning team. And as you can see, he doesn't have his trademark 'fro to worry about anymore.
12 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Age 70
Okay, it hurts putting Kareem on this list. He is one of my all-time favorite players and truly a smart and intelligent man. But he’s old! He played in the NBA for 21 years, won 6 MVP awards, made 19 all-star games, won 6 championships, and changed his name in the process. Anyone that watches basketball knows he patented the skyhook and the trademark, big man “goggles.” And who could forget him in Airplane! “Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.”
But enough about his accolades, in 2015, Kareem had surgery to fix complications with his heart. Luckily, everything went well, but now he looks like Charlie Villanueva’s estranged grandfather. We wish you all the best Lou, but you’re getting up there.
11 Patrick Ewing – Age 54
The 11-time all-star looks like the years have hit him harder than Ron Artest hits fans. It is hard to imagine since Ewing abstains from alcohol. I mean, he could have been a member of the Coneheads for all we know. With Barkley and Ewing turning out the way they did, it looks like the Monstars in Space Jam was more of a futuristic tale, rather than a kids movie.
While Ewing won the NCAA championship with Georgetown in 1984, he never brought home the Naismith trophy to New York. He recently received the head coaching job at his alma mater and his hoping to bring the Hoyas back to a Big East title.
10 Shawn Kemp – Age 47
The “Reign Man” is a 6-time all-star power forward that propelled the Super Sonics to greatness in the 90s. Nowadays, Kemp clearly looks over the hill, and down in the valley. He has that Bill Cosby-esque look meaning you probably want to cover your drink around him. Other than his NBA career, Kemp has dealt with several personal issues.
In 2005, he was arrested for possession of cocaine, a couple oz’s of marijuana, and a firearm. And on a completely unrelated note, he fathered six children with seven women by the age of 27. Now if that kind of child support doesn’t make you age faster, I don’t know what does! Kemp probably would have aged a little more gracefully without the demons that took his life over for a while.
9 Dikembe Mutombo – Age 51
No! No! No! Not today. Dikembe, you look old AF today, granted you always looked like a man among boys when you were in the league. The 8-time all-star is known for being a mountain of a man (hence the nickname Mt. Mutombo), using his size to be one of the greatest shot blockers in his generation. But one thing he sure couldn’t block was the aging process.
All dogging Mutombo aside, his humanitarian effort in Africa has been amazing. The Congolese National has funded several projects in his home country as well as proudly supporting the Special Olympics. Despite all this, the years have taken a toll on him. Maybe it was all the finger-wagging or all the elbows he threw. Either way the HOF looks older than dirt.
8 Vlade Divac – Age 49
The King of Flops! Vlade Divac, at 49, looks a little rough as the GM of the Sacramento Kings. The Serbian-born one-time all-star (2001) just looks like he could use a nap… all the time. Floppy Divac has been questioned in recent years with some odd deals that Sacramento have made, including getting rid one of the best centers in today’s NBA, DeMarcus Cousins. In 2017, he signed two NBA seniors in Zach Randolph and Vince Carter. Maybe he just wants players on the team that he played against back in the day.
Again though, just like Mutombo, “Sir Flops A Lot” is known for humanitarian work in his native Serbia and across the world. He even adopted his daughter, Petra, after her parents were killed by snipers in the Kosovo Liberation Army. That all being said, Vlade, you look old AF.
7 Sam Cassell – Age 47
Cassell was a one-time all-star (2003-2004) and does not necessarily look old AF, but looks like he is from a different planet. I wonder how many opponents trash talked him on the court. Something to the effect of, “Take me to your leader!” He should have been in Space Jam. No need to even animate it! Sam “I am” truly looks like a Dr. Seuss Character.
During his playing career, Cassell also won three championships and was well known for his mid-range jumpshot. He would also always come in the clutch in the fourth. But let’s be real, if there is anything that modern science has achieved, it is the true accolade of cross-breeding a martian with a human, scientific name, samus cassellius.
6 Antoine Walker – Age 40
Oh 8-ball! The years have not been kind to you. I remember watching you pull up from the corner and make it rain on opponents. Now, you are no longer “making it rain” since you went bankrupt. His ex-wife, the Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada, was apparently a little too loose with his money. In 2010, he filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy,
Another reason for his bankruptcy was his $800,00 worth of gambling debts. The story has it, Walker was at a charity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, and as soon as he stepped on the tee box on the Nevada side of the golf course, authorities arrested him for failure to pay. Some say he was arrested at Harrah’s the day before. Either way, drugs and gambling, among other things, makes Walker look old AF.
5 Dennis Rodman – Age 56
Reading the title of this article, you had to imagine that Dennis Rodman was close to the top. From his wedding dress incident, to his multiple piercings, to his wild hair, Rodman has always marched to the beat of his own drum. Today, that drum beats to the tune of a nursing home. Not really, but you get the point. Recently, the 2-time all-star has become an unofficial ambassador and best bud to North Korea and Kim Jong-Un.
But just like North Korea, Rodman’s image is a whole lot of flash with little depth. With a history of alcohol addiction, “The Worm” looks like he is about 70. He definitely does not look like he's going to be carrying a distinguished look from here on out.
4 Kevin McHale – Age 59
“The Black Hole”, as Larry Bird called him (probably because he was just in Bird’s shadow), is a 7-time all-star and 3-time NBA Champion. Some say he had the perfect body for a NBA power forward, but today, he looks like he has a perfect body for a recliner. After the NBA, McHale dabbled in the front office for the Timberwolves and head coach for the Rockets. Neither turned out great. Perhaps all those years of falling short in Minnesota and dealing with big egos like James Harden and Dwight Howard with the Rockets added years to McHale's aging process. Nowadays, he is an analyst for the NBA on TNT and clearly not getting any younger. It's unlikely he'll be able to land another NBA coaching job at this point.
3 Larry Bird – Age 60
Larry “Legend,” making white men proud since the late 70s. While in his playing days he looked like a porn star, nowadays, he looks like a disappointed grandfather. And is it just me or does he really look like a bird? The 3-time MVP and 12-time all-star comes in at number three on our list. Yes, he is 60, but he looks like 83. After his playing career, just like former teammate and elderly man Kevin McHale, he dabbled in coaching and the front office. In 2017, he stepped down as President of the Indiana Pacers. He probably was fed up with their mediocrity and the inevitable exit of Paul George. His wrinkles say it all and that is why he looks old AF.
1 Steve Francis – Age 40
Stevie “Franchise” looks worse for wear these days. Once a force off the dribble, the 3-time all-star looks like someone slapped him in the face with a 2x4. In 2016, Francis also was up to his neck in legal troubles. He ended up getting a DUI in Houston and was wanted for a burglary in Florida. He is number one on our list because… look at the damn picture. He is supposed to be 40, but he looks like he could be collecting social security checks! All of these issues had to have taken their toll on "Franchise".
While we may remember him for posterizing opponents on the court, I won’t be able to get this image out of my head. Stevie Francis, you look old AF.