Skip to Content

Which NBA player had the longest career?

Playing in the NBA is something every athlete wishes for. This is undoubtedly the best league in the world, and having a solid and long career is a priority for every athlete – both in the United States and worldwide.

Which player had the longest career in the NBA? In 2019-2020 Vince Carter became the first player to have spent 22 seasons in the league. Starting a playing career in 1998 with the Toronto Raptors he retired at the age of 43 in 2020.

Vince Carter is one of eight players to have played 20 and more seasons in the NBA. In this article we will talk about them thoroughly and what they managed to achieve.

How long did Vince Carter play in the NBA for?

Known as “Air Canada”, “Vincanity” and “Half Man, Half Amazing”, Vince Carter spent 22 seasons with 8 teams in the NBA, finally retiring in June 2020. 8-times NBA all-star, unfortunately, Carter did not manage to win a single championship and he is a member of unique players, who were forced to retire without championship rings. He is undoubtedly one of the best dunkers of all time. Widely believed to be one of the best shooting guards of his generation, Carter managed to score 25,728 points and played 1,541 games.

How long did Robert Parish play in the NBA for?

A 4x NBA champion and 9x NBA All-Star – Robert Parish spent 21 seasons in the NBA with 4 teams. His career ranged from 1976 to 1997 where he eventually retired with the Chicago Bulls under Michael Jordan. It should be noted that the landmark of his career was in the Boston Celtics, the team where he won 3 championships. Alongside Larry Bird and Kevin McHale, Robert Parish was a pivotal member of the Celtics that dominated the league alongside the Lakers.

How long did Kevin Willis play in the NBA for?

Kevin Willis may not be the most famous player on our list, but he managed to establish himself as a player who spent 21 seasons in the NBA. He started a career with the Atlanta Hawks in 1984 and retired in 2007 with the Dallas Mavericks. His sole championship came in 2003 with the San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich. Being 45 years old in 2007, Willis became the oldest person to play more than 2 games in a single season, which is undoubtedly a unique feat. 

How long did Kevin Garnett play in the NBA for?

An NBA MVP in 2004 and champion in 2008 – what can be said about Kevin Garnett who is considered one of the greatest power forwards alongside Tim Duncan. Garnett came into the NBA in 1995 and retired in 2015 with the Brooklyn Nets, playing 21 seasons. Kevin Garnett was a phenomenal player in the ranks of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He did not manage to claim a championship title with them, but after joining Ray Allen and Paul Pierce he finally added a ring to his decorated career, after defeating the Lakers in the Finals.

How long did Dirk Nowitzki play in the NBA for?

Probably the greatest European basketball player to have competed in the NBA – German Dirk Nowitzki spent his entire career with the Dallas Mavericks from 1998 to 2019 (21 seasons). The German machine became an MVP in 2007 and later defeated the Miami Heat in 2011. With his lethal fadeaway shots and phenomenal performance in the 2011 Finals, Nowitzki claimed a championship ring which was fully deserved, if we take a deep look at his career. Nowitzki is the only player in the history of the NBA to have played 21 seasons for a single franchise.

How long did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar play in the NBA for? 

19x NBA All-Star, becoming an MVP and champion 6 times – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the most decorated players of all time. He still holds a record for the most points scored, which has not been broken so far. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spent 20 seasons (1969-1989) in the NBA and his consistency is exemplary. Jabbar played for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Lakers but achieved prominence in the latter, where he was a pivotal figure alongside Magic Johnson.

How long did Kobe Bryant play in the NBA for?

5x NBA champion and Mamba mentality – Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players of all time. His comparison with Michael Jordan remains and comes to no surprise as their playing styles are pretty similar to each other. Like Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant spent his whole career playing for the Lakers. He was selected as the 13th pick in 1996 and retired in 2016, after struggling with injuries. Kobe, unfortunately, passed away in 2020, in a helicopter crash but his legacy continues to strive in the league. 

How long did Jamal Crawford play in the NBA for? 

From 2000 to 2020, Jamal Crawford has played for 9 teams. He initially joined the Chicago Bulls and eventually retired with the Brooklyn Nets. Known for his ball-handling skills, shooting and scoring, Jamal Crawford was a reliable sixth man, who always had a role in every team. He managed to become the sixth man of the year 3 times. Crawford is also the second player in the NBA, to have scored 10,000 and more points off the bench. 

Who can surpass Vince Carter?

Right now, the only candidate who can surpass Vince Carter in terms of seasons played is LeBron James. The King will start his 19th season with the Lakers in 2021 and if we take a look at his shape and physical capabilities, it is highly likely that James will play for several more seasons. James has the potential to break several records and the number of seasons is one of them. However, injuries will determine a lot in LeBron’s future career.