The average lifespan of an NBA career is 4.8 years, a fascinating statistic when you consider the growing number of quality role players, starters and superstars who are playing well past the age of 35, and in some cases, knocking on the door of 40.
There's no question that the NBA has evolved into a young man's game, built around speed, athleticism and an ability to play multiple positions. And yet there still is a place for the veteran who brings leadership, poise and developed skills—something you can't always count on from younger players with raw talent.
Just look at the four teams that made it to the NBA semifinals this year: Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Miami and Boston. Three of the four had 35-something players on their roster with the exception of Miami, who had five over 30 including two of their key perimeter shooters (Shane Battier, 33, and Mike Miller, 32).
Soon after winning their second world championship, Miami joined the over-35 club when they signed former Celtic Ray Allen to a three-year contract this month. They are counting on the league's all-time leading three-point scorer to be their main long-distance threat this fall.
More and more teams are acquiring players 35 and older because they're still relevant and often will sign for less money in order to compete for a title.
Let's look at 10 from the "over-the-hill gang" who are and will be valuable components for their respective teams this coming season.
Meet the top 10 "35-and-over club."
Note: This ranking judges players' entire careers.