Did you know that the average retirement age for NBA players is just under 34 years old? That’s a lot sooner than the average American worker, who retires at the age of 62. So what’s behind this early retirement?
Several factors play into this, including the physicality of the sport and the number of money players can make outside of basketball. Most NBA players retire in their early-to-mid 30s, and many spend their post-retirement years coaching or playing in other countries.
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Average Retirement Age for NBA Players?
The average retirement age for NBA players is just under 34 years old. Very few players have careers that last into their 40s.
There are a few reasons for this, the biggest one being the physicality of the sport. We shall look into all the main reasons as to why NBA players retire in this age bracket.
Why do Many NBA Players Retire in their Mid-30s?
The physicality of the sport is by far the biggest reason for early retirement. NBA players put their bodies through so much wear and tear that they often can’t continue playing at a high level beyond their mid-30s.
This was the case for Scottie Pippen, who retired in 2004 at the age of 36. Pippen had dealt with nagging injuries throughout his career, and his body simply couldn’t take any more.
“I could no longer run and jump like I used to. That’s when I knew it was time to walk away from the game.”Scottie Pippen
Many other players have made similar decisions, as the risk of injury is just too high to continue playing into their 40s.
Of course, not every player who retires in their 30s does so because of injuries. In some cases, they simply aren’t good enough to keep up with the young players coming into the league.
This was the case for Amar’e Stoudemire, who retired in 2017 at the age of 34. Stoudemire had been a star earlier in his career, but he was no longer able to compete at a high level by the time he reached his mid-30s.
“I want to be remembered as a winner. I don’t want to be remembered as somebody who just played basketball.”Amar’e Stoudemire
Not in Demand Anymore
In other cases, players may retire because they’re simply not in demand anymore. This was the case for Kobe Bryant, who retired in 2016 at the age of 37.
Bryant had been one of the best players in the league for many years, but he was no longer able to play at a high level by the time he reached his mid-30s. As a result, teams weren’t interested in signing him to a new contract.
“It’s been difficult to watch from afar. But it’s also been beautiful to watch.”Kobe Bryant
Lose Passion for the Game
Finally, some players may simply lose their passion for the game as they get older. This was the case for Dwyane Wade, who retired in 2019 at the age of 37.
Wade had been one of the best players in the league for many years, but he said he no longer had the same love for basketball that he did when he was younger.
“I’ve done everything that I could do in this game… I’m happy with my career.”Dwyane Wade
Made Enough Money
As egoistic as it might sound, some players may retire because they’ve made enough money. This was the case for Shaquille O’Neal, who retired in 2011 at the age of 38.
O’Neal had been one of the richest players in the league for many years, and he decided that it was time to move on to other things.
“You can’t play basketball forever, I want to be a businessman when I’m done.”Shaquille O’Neal
Does Player Position Affect the Retirement Age in the NBA?
We have seen that the average retirement age for NBA players is just under 34 years old. But does player position affect the retirement age?
It has been found that point guards tend to have the longest careers, while centers tend to have the shortest careers. This makes sense when you consider the physicality of the sport.
Point guards rely more on speed and agility, while centers rely more on size and strength. And as we’ve seen, injuries often force players to retire prematurely.
Do NBA Players Get Paid after Retirement?
Most NBA players do not get paid after they retire. However, there are a few exceptions.
For example, players who have been in the league for at least ten years and have played for the same team for at least five years can receive up to 50% of their salary from their former team.
Players who have been in the league for at least ten years and have played for three different teams can also receive up to 50% of their salary from their former team.
Finally, players who have been in the league for at least 20 years can receive up to $300,000 per year from the NBA Players’ Association pension plan.
So while most NBA players don’t get paid after they retire, there are a few exceptions. Players who have been in the league for a long time and have played for multiple teams can receive a small pension from the NBA.
So what do Most NBA Players do after Retirement?
Well, many of them stay involved with basketball in some way or another. Many become coaches or broadcasters, while others work as scouts or front-office personnel. A few even get into coaching high school or college teams.
Others find business success, as many NBA players have made a lot of money during their careers. Some open restaurants or start clothing lines, while others invest in real estate or venture capital.
Finally, some players simply enjoy retirement and live a life of leisure. They travel the world, spend time with family and friends, and do all the things they couldn’t do during their playing days.
So that’s a brief overview of why so many NBA players retire by the time they reach their mid-30s. It’s a combination of injuries, not being good enough, losing passion for the game, and simply making enough money to live comfortably.
Do you have a favorite player that has already retired? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out our other blog posts about all things basketball! Thanks for reading!
Here are Some of our Favourite Basketball Sneakers
Here we will be giving more of an opinion, rather than facts. Are the sneakers worth the price that they are being sold at? Should you upgrade from your current sneakers, depending on what boots you own? What features stand out on these sneakers? If any. Does it do the job? Speed, control, stability etc. Depending on your needs/preferences. We can also mention its durability, if we have collected enough data on the specific sneakers.
What did we expect vs. what we got. Is it maybe overrated/underrated?
Here’s our pick from the very best of the bunch.
On your way to the pro leagues? Here’s our pick.
Want something to start with? Have a look at our pick.