When Do NBA Players Retire? (Average Age Revealed)

It’s rare to see NBA players over 40 years old still playing in the league. Additionally, some players choose to retire from professional basketball at an early age. So when do NBA players retire?

NBA players generally retire in the mid to late thirties. Certain professional basketball athletes in the association chose to retire within 36 to 39 years old because they no longer want to renew their contracts. Others wanted to retire because they chose to pursue other careers.

It still begs the question, what do retired NBA players do after they leave the league? Also, how much money do NBA players get from their pension? Keep reading to know more about the answers to these questions.

NBA players retire

Several NBA players retire during their mid to late thirties. In many cases, these professional basketball athletes retire within the ages of 36 to 39. Some players, such as Dirk Nowitzki, Rick Mahorn, and John Long, were able to leave the professional basketball scene by age 40 or over.

However, some athletes in the league had to retire because of injuries. As per a July 2020 statistics report that studied several hundred NBA players throughout generations, the investigators found that the most number of injuries encountered in the league were players with the ages of 31 to 34 years. Some of these players had no choice but to retire from the sport, such as Brandon Roy and Greg Oden, and these athletes weren’t even at 30 years old when they had to leave the NBA.

Learn more about basketball injuries by reading our post on Why Do Basketball Players Have Bad Feet? Read This First. 

What do retired NBA players do after retirement?

Retired NBA players

Like many professionals, NBA players will be able to choose their paths after they retire from their basketball careers. Some choose to be managers of famous food chains. Others pursued other physical activities, such as golf and MMA fighting. Certain retired NBA players chose to pursue higher education or stayed with the NBA as coaches.

Some retired NBA players went to follow humanitarian careers, which is the case of Adrian Dantley. Born with the name Adrian Delano Dantley, he’s a former American professional basketball coach and player. He played for the league for 15 years before retiring at age 35. He was also one of the association’s best scorers, considering that he was able to bag awards like the NBA scoring champion (which he received twice).

Now, Dantley earns significantly less money than when he was with the NBA. He’s now working as a school crossing guard in Maryland. But he likes his job and, for some like Dantley, that’s all that matters.

Check out some of Dantley’s NBA highlights below:

How Much Pension Money Do NBA Players Get?

At the time of writing, the current minimum pension that an NBA player can acquire after playing for at least three years in the league is $56,988 per annum. That amount is more than double the money retired federal government employees receive from their pensions.

On the other hand, professional NBA players that choose to play within the league for more than a decade can receive about $195,000 per year. These players can also receive league-sponsored 401(k) that matches the athletes’ contributions.

Final Words – Reasons NBA Players Retire

The average retirement age for NBA players is in their mid-thirties. The causes for these professional basketball athletes to let go of their careers vary for each person. But, some of these reasons include injuries and poor performance in the court. All in all, the average age did seem to range within the mid to late thirties across the board.

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