These days many players are drafted into the NBA in their late teens. By 25 they’re on their second contract and considered a solid veteran of the league. While there are a few player in their mid to late 30’s, 40 is an age that sticks out as a wall before which virtually all players retire. In fact, of the thousands of men to play in the NBA since its inception in the 1940’s, only 27 players have ever been in a game after their 40th birthday. Virtually all in that small group ever saw major minutes. Robert Parish won his final championship at the age of 43. Parish is a vegetarian by the way .
Vince Carter just turned 42 last weekend and is showing no physical signs of being on the verge of retirement. Though more than a decade older than anyone else on the Atlanta Hawks roster, he’s still a major part of the teams lineup and double digit scoring efforts a still a norm for him. He actually just scored 15 points last Saturday night on his birthday. Currently 19th all-time in NBA history for minutes played, by the end of the season should be at least 15th on the list. His first game in the league was played over two decades ago.
When asking Vince what he eats to keep him healthy, his first words from any interview over the past few seasons start out with ‘I eat a lot of greens.’ His diet seems to consist overwhelmingly of green vegatables. Any time he has something like hamburger it is considered a cheat meal (and without the bun). But he is always first to talk about the importance of vegetables. Second he relies on pasta before a game supplying extra carbohydrates to burn. A raw food/vegetable heavy diet seems to be a constant when studying the eating habits of professional athletes playing into their forties.