Nowadays, most new players that come into the NBA are quite young. Some of them have one year of college under their belt, others have finished their entire college careers. In both cases, those players are between 19 and 23 years old. But who are players who weren’t ready for the NBA at that age, but made it into the league at an older age? These are the five oldest rookies in the NBA.
5. Antoine Rigaudeau
Rigaudeau was 31 years old when he made his debut in the NBA. He originally made himself eligible for the 1993 draft, but he went undrafted. Ten years later, in 2003, he signed a contract with the Dallas Mavericks and on January 19th he made his debut for the team. Unfortunately, he played in just 11 games for the Mavericks and retired because of a knee injury.
4. Pero Antic
Antic also made his debut at 31 years old, when he signed a contract with the Atlanta Hawks in 2013. Originally, he tried to be drafted into the NBA in 2004, but he went undrafted. Eventually, he stayed in the NBA for two season, before returning to Europe.
3. Arvydas Sabonis
This Lithuanian was already a huge basketball star in Europe, but he did not make his debut in the NBA until age 31. Unlike the previous players on this last, Sabonis was already drafted into the NBA back in 1986 with the 24th pick, but he declined to actually come and play in the league. He eventually made his debut in 1995. At this moment, his son, Domantas Sabonis, is playing for the Indiana Pacers.
2. Marcelo Huertas
Huertas made his debut in the NBA in 2015 for the LA Lakers. At that time, he was 32 years old. Back in 2005, ten years before he actually played in the NBA, he made himself eligible for the draft, but he went undrafted. His entire NBA career only lasted two seasons and then he returned to Europe to play for Baskonia.
1. Pablo Prigioni
Prigioni is the oldest NBA rookie on this list. He made his debut for the New York Knicks at age 35. During his short NBA career, he played for two teams beside the Knicks: the Houston Rockets and the LA Clippers.