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Top 10 Players with Longest NBA Careers | 2022


The NBA is the most difficult basketball league in the world, and players must be flawless to continue their NBA careers. Every year, a large number of players are drafted and begin their NBA careers. However, only a few of them go on to set the record for the longest NBA careers. 

Being able to play in the NBA for an extended period is not easy. Some suffer as a result of adjusting to a new environment, while others suffer from severe injuries and fatal health issues. Many others find it difficult to adjust to the NBA standard, forcing them to end their NBA career. 

However, if you look at NBA history, you will notice that many players shined later in their careers in this competitive league. They made it possible through their perseverance and determination.

In this article, we will highlight the accomplishments of those players with the longest NBA careers one by one for your knowledge. 

Who Has Appeared In The Most NBA Games? 

Chucky Brown, Jim Jackson, Tony Massenburg, and Joe Smith are four NBA players who have played for 12 different teams.

Chucky Brown is the only player who has spent only 13 years switching between 12 different franchises. Surprisingly, he left the NBA during this time to play for three other teams. 

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Who Has Played the Most NBA Seasons? 

Vince Carter has the longest NBA career record. He is the only player in NBA history to have appeared in all 22 seasons.

Carter’s best years came after his debut in 1998 when he was a member of the Toronto Raptors and the New Jersey Nets.

In the latter years of his career, he bounced around the league, making stops in Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento, and Atlanta before retiring in 2020. 

Also, read to know Who Are The Highest-Paid Baseball Players?

Who Has Appeared In The Most NBA Games? 

Robert Parish, a Boston Celtics legend, has played the most games in NBA history. Parish, nicknamed “The Chief,” appeared in 1,611 regular-season games for the Warriors, Celtics, Hornets, and Bulls over a 20-year career. 

Also, Parish reached this milestone by never missing a gameday. Parish appeared in no fewer than 80 games throughout nine seasons. Three other players, in addition to Parish, have played in the NBA for 21 seasons. 

Players with the Longest NBA Careers 

Many successful players have entered the NBA and have had lengthy NBA careers. Among them, we have chosen the top ten NBA players in terms of seasons played: 

1. Vince Carter(22 seasons) 

The player with the longest NBA career is still playing for the Atlanta Hawks, so this article may need to be updated if he decides to stay for another shot at his first championship ring next year.

Vince Carter was named Rookie of the Year in 1999 and returned in his sophomore season to lead the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever playoff appearance and a slam dunk contest victory.

Carter had a very successful year in 2000, as he also won a gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games.

As of this writing, Carter is the 19th highest scoring player in NBA history, with a total of 25,714 points. 

2. Kevin Garnett(21 seasons) 

Kevin Garnett, the 2004 league MVP, has a significant impact on any team he plays for.

Garnett, a 15-time All-Star and four-time rebounding champion, was the first player drafted straight out of high school since 1975 when he was selected fifth overall in 1995, paving the way for Kobe Bryant’s high-school draft the following year.

Garnett led the league in rebounds in both the 2003-04 and 04-05 seasons, and he currently ranks ninth in league history with 14,662 total rebounds. He is the second player with the longest NBA career. 

Garnett not only dominated domestically, winning the league MVP award in 2004, but he also won gold medals in the FIBA AmeriCup and the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000.

Garnett won his first NBA championship in 2008 and was named the league’s defensive player of the year. 

3. Robert Parish 21 seasons. 

Despite being the first player in NBA history to play for 21 seasons, Robert Parish is now tied with Garnett and Willis. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1976, but his career took off four years later when he joined the Boston Celtics. 

He was an All-Star in his first season with the Celtics and went on to win the NBA championship with Larry Bird months later. Although he played for three teams, his time with the Celtics was the most fruitful. 

Parish finished his career on a high note, playing for the Chicago Bulls alongside Michael Jordan. Despite appearing in only two games during the NBA playoffs, Jordan and his teammates won the championship in 1997. 

5. Kevin Willis 21 seasons. 

Kevin Willis played in the NBA for 21 seasons and eight different teams. He might have been tied for first if he hadn’t missed the 1988-89 season due to injury. 

Willis was a talented player and an elite rebounder, but he received little recognition from the league. He only appeared in one All-Star game, in 1992, and was named to the All-NBA Third Team that year. 

Despite making the NBA playoffs eleven times, he did not have much success, as he only won the championship once. In the 2003 NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs, led by Tim Duncan, defeated the Brooklyn Nets to give Willis his first ring. 

From 2004 until his retirement in 2007, the big man was the league’s oldest player. His most impressive stretch in the league was when he had four consecutive seasons of double-doubles. 

6. Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem (20 Seasons) 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time with a long NBA career. He was a well-known college player when he joined the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969. He quickly rose to prominence as a dominant center. With the Milwaukee Bucks, he won his first NBA title in 1971. 

Kareem moved to the Los Angeles Lakers after six years with the team. From 1975 to 1989, he won five NBA championships with the Lakers. Kareem and Magic Johnson’s combination was a highlight at the time.

Kareem was a six-time NBA Champion, two-time Finals MVP, six-time NBA MVP, and a 19-time NBA All-Star when he retired in 1989. 

7. Bryant, Kobe (20 Seasons) 

Kobe Bryant has established himself as the greatest Los Angeles Lakers player of all time. Kobe was a Laker for life after his 20-year career.

Basically, Bryant joined the Lakers immediately after being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets. Bryant made his debut with the Lakers in 1996. 

Bryant quickly demonstrated his talent in the league during his first few seasons. The arrival of legendary coach Phil Jackson, as well as a dominant partnership with Shaquille O’Neal, aided Kobe’s rise even further.

From 2000 to 2003, the two players led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships. 

Shaq’s departure resulted in a period of dormancy for Kobe. He was on the verge of leaving the Lakers. However, the arrival of Pau Gasol enabled Bryant and the Lakers to win back-to-back NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.

He stayed with the Lakers for six more years, during which time the team struggled. He retired as a five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, league MVP, and 18-time All-Star in 2016. 

8. John Stockton (19 Seasons) 

Stockton, who played four years at Gonzaga University, was selected by the Jazz with the 16th overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. 

He went on to become one of the best point guards in league history. After spending the majority of his first three seasons as a reserve, Stockton became a full-time starter in Year 4, when he won the first of nine consecutive assists titles with 13.8 assists per game.

Stockton was named to 11 All-NBA teams, 10 All-Star games, five All-Defensive teams, and was the MVP of the 1993 All-Star Game. 

Stockton retired as Utah’s all-time leader in games played, and his 15,806 career assists are by far the most in NBA history and are unlikely to be surpassed. 

9. Tim Duncan (19 seasons) (1997-2016) 

The Spurs selected Duncan with the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft after winning the lottery. His influence was felt right away. 

Duncan was named to the All-NBA First Team as a rookie, as well as the All-Defensive Second Team and, of course, Rookie of the Year. During his three-decade career in San Antonio, he earned 15 All-Star selections, 15 All-NBA selections, 15 All-Defensive Team selections, five NBA championships, three Finals MVPs, and two league MVPs. 

Duncan holds the franchise record in more than ten statistical categories, including games and minutes played, points, rebounds, and blocks. 

10. Karl Malone (19 seasons) 

Karl played 19th in the Playoffs and appeared in 1476 Season Games and 193 playoff games. Although, he won no Championships 

To be promoted to the playoffs on every occasion throughout your career, you must be a true-life Iron Man. That’s exactly what Karl Malone was during his 19-year NBA career. He played for the Utah Jazz for 18 seasons, making him one of the most devoted NBA players. 

With 36,928 points, Malone is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He was an absolute nightmare for opponents due to his perfect utilization of his size and skills.

Many pundits consider him to be the greatest NBA player who never won a championship. By no means did this prevent him from achieving an illustrious career. 

Malone dominated other teams for nearly two decades, earning 14 All-Star and 14 All-NBA selections. Malone’s free throw record of 9,787 made during his career has yet to be broken by any NBA player since his departure. 

11. Shaquille O’Neal (19 seasons) 

He played 17th in the playoffs and appeared in 1207 regular-season games and 216 Playoff Games. He won 4 championships. When a player wins four NBA championships and three final MVP awards during his career, he hardly needs an introduction. Yes, we’re referring to Shaquille O’Neal, a true NBA legend. In his 19-year career, he amassed a total of 28,596 points, ranking him eighth among NBA scorers. 

Shaq’s 7-foot-1-inch frame was the epitome of scandalous terror to the opposition. Despite having played for six different teams, he will be remembered primarily for his significant contribution to the Laker’s emergence in the 2000s. 

During his Lakers tenure, he and Kobe Bryant formed one of the most potent NBA duos of all time. During his eight seasons there, he established a dynasty with three consecutive championships. Later, he switched to multiple teams while maintaining his consistency. As a result, his 15 All-Star selections tell the rest of the story of how he was able to have such a long career. 

Which active NBA player has had the most successful career? 

LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Udonis Haslem are three NBA players who made their league debuts in 2003 and are still on active rosters today. James has played the most games of this group, while Anthony has played for the most teams (Nuggets, Knicks, Thunder, Rockets, Trail Blazers, Lakers). 

Both James and Anthony were first-round picks in the 2003 NBA Draft, while Haslem was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Miami Heat after no teams chose him in 2002. Haslem (41 years old) is also the NBA’s oldest player at the moment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the record for the longest NBA career?

Vince Carter still playing for Atlanta Hawks, has the longest NBA career record of 22 seasons.

What are some fun facts about the NBA?

Giannis Antetokounmpo has more 40-point games in the NBA Finals than Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry combined. Kobe Bryant had more 50-point games in a single week than Dwyane Wade had in his entire career. Kawhi Leonard has won more championships than he has triple-doubles.

How long does an NBA career typically last?

The average NBA career lasts about 4.5 years.

Who has had the shortest career in the NBA?

Jameson Curry, a former Oklahoma State standout, had only 3.9 seconds of playing time with the Clippers in 2010, the shortest NBA career to date.

Conclusion

That being said, we’ve mentioned the top 10 players with the longest NBA careers. Playing in the NBA is a grueling experience, as many players fail to meet the league’s standards on a consistent basis.

However, a select few have established themselves and consistently dominated the game, despite the fact that they are no longer as athletic as they once were as a result of aging.

While many have long careers because of their contributions on the court, a few others are more desirable because of their contributions off the court. 

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