The list of NBA veterans who have played 20 or more seasons in the league will grow by at least two this year, as Lakers star LeBron James and Heat big man Udonis Haslem are set to become the ninth and 10th players to spend at least two decades on NBA rosters.
The players already in the NBA’s 20-season club are as follows:
- Vince Carter (22 seasons)
- Kevin Garnett (21)
- Dirk Nowitzki (21)
- Robert Parish (21)
- Kevin Willis (21)
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (20)
- Kobe Bryant (20)
- Jamal Crawford (20)
While James and the majority of the other players on the above list spent time with multiple teams over the course of their lengthy NBA careers, Haslem is on track to join an even more exclusive club, having only played for the Heat during his 20 years in the league.
Nowitzki (21 seasons with the Mavericks) and Bryant (20 with the Lakers) are the only two other players to spend at least two decades with a single team. Prior to deciding on Sunday to return for one final season in Miami, Haslem had been tied on that list with Tim Duncan, who spent 19 years with the Spurs, and John Stockton, who spent 19 with the Jazz.
Haslem will also become the first member of the 20-season club who began his NBA career as an undrafted player. In fact, James and the other eight players with 20 seasons under their belts were all lottery picks. Bryant, the No. 13 selection in 1996, was the lowest draft pick of any of those nine players, making Haslem’s accomplishment all the more remarkable.
Although Haslem defied the odds to spend 20 years with a single team after going undrafted, he confirmed on Sunday that he intends to retire after the 2022/23 season, so he won’t move any higher on the list of the NBA’s seasons played leaders. James, on the other hand, has a good chance to match or surpass Carter’s record of 22 years in the league — LeBron is already under contract through 2024/25, which would be his 22nd NBA season.
Finally, it’s worth noting that a third player is in position to join James and Haslem and become the 11th player in the 20-season club in 2022/23. Carmelo Anthony, who also entered the NBA in 2003 and has played for 19 years, remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent, but seems likely to catch on with an NBA team either before opening night or at some point during the season.
9 thoughts on “LeBron James, Udonis Haslem Set To Join NBA’s 20-Season Club”
But only one should be playing a 20th year and that’s being very generous.
are you insinuating that MAYBE Lebron shouldn’t be playing anymore?
Probably never should have been drafted. He’s a G-League level player & ofc that’s being generous
Some people inject a lot of help to get to 20 years.
Lol I see what you did there. LeArmstrong James.
I prefer LeRod
Massive accomplishment by The King and Carmelo, true legends of the game!