With the high of winning a big game, the Super Bowl, or Olympic gold, combined with the inherent competitive nature of athletes, many are enjoying the excitement of their athletic career and delaying their exit from the competitive arena and extending their careers. These “aging” athletes are making us rethink the stereotype of being “too old” to compete. We are intrigued by how these athletes push their bodies to the limits and train just as hard, or harder, to be keep up with their younger competition.

Because these athletes aren’t ready to leave, most fans aren’t ready to watch them go, and are biting their nails to see what happens – a thriving career, or a declining performance. With the beloved Denver Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning, 37, ready to go out on top with a Super Bowl win (or would he have?) and Americans who hoped for a three-peat from Shaun White, 27, (even though he didn’t quite hit that accomplishment, he says he’s definitely not out of South Korea in 2018), we want to see these veterans continue to peak…or do we?

This debate of athlete age wars has transcended into most sports, and this year, has become a talked about topic for the 2014 NBA All-Star game.

Let’s take a look at the teams and review some data:

Eastern Conference Line-up:

Starters

Player

2013-14 Stats

BC

Dwyane Wade

18.7 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.7 RPG, 21.4 PER, .578 TS%

BC

Kyrie Irving

21.5 PPG, 6.2 APG, 3.0 RPG, 20.28 PER, .524 TS%

FC

LeBron James

26.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 6.4 APG, 28.8 PER, .661 TS%

FC

Paul George

23.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 22.10 PER, .580 TS%

FC

Carmelo Anthony

27.1 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 24.96 PER, .553 TS%

Reserves

Player

2013-14 Stats

BC

John Wall

19.8 PPG, 8.5 APG, 4.4 RPG, 19.91 PER, .521 TS%

BC

DeMar DeRozan

21.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.6 APG, 17.99 PER, .517 TS%

BC

Joe Johnson

15.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.8 APG, 14.98 PER, .553 TS%

FC

Chris Bosh

16.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 20.55 PER, .612 TS%

FC

Roy Hibbert

11.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.5 BPG, 16.52 PER, .521 TS%

FC

Joakim Noah

11.7 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 19.09 PER, .518 TS%

FC

Paul Millsap

17.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 20.39 PER, .550 TS%

 

Taking a closer look at the eastern conference team starters, Carmelo Anthony, who is 29, has the highest points per game and the most rebounds of the starters. Not far behind is LeBron James, who is also 29, who has the second highest points per game and rebounds, and the highest player efficiency rating.

The East’s youngest player is Kyrie Irving, 21, who is only averaging 21.5 points per game. In 2012, he received Rookie of the Year honors, took home the trophy at the 2013 Three-Point Shootout, and earned All-Star nods. But, after hitting 45.2 percent of his field-goal attempts in 2012-13, he’s shooting just 42.6 percent this year. His three-point shooting has also declined from 39.1 percent to 35.1.

To be fair, the oldest player on the team, Dwayne Wade, 32, hasn’t had his best season either. Wade missed his 14th game of the season last week due to a migraine and missed other games thanks to knee problems and the flu.

Now, for the Western Conference Line-up:

Starters

Player

2013-14 Stats

BC

Stephen Curry

24.1 PPG, 9.2 APG, 4.5 RPG, 22.87 PER, .534 TS%

BC

Kobe Bryant

13.8 PPG, 6.3 APG, 4.3 RPG, 11.3 PER .505 TS%

FC

Kevin Durant

31.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.2 APG, 31.17 PER, .645 TS%

FC

Blake Griffin

22.9 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 22.97 PER, .585 TS%

FC

Kevin Love

25.0 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 4.1 APG, 26.89 PER, .583 TS%

Reserves

Player

2013-14 Stats

BC

Chris Paul

19.6 PPG, 11.2 APG, 4.6 RPG, 27.47 PER, .578 TS%

BC

Damian Lillard

20.6 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.5 RPG, 18.87 PER, .571 TS%

BC

Tony Parker

18.1 PPG, 6.2 APG, 2.4 RPG, 20.12 PER, .571 TS%

BC

James Harden

23.7 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.9 RPG, 21.12 PER, .593 TS%

FC

LaMarcus Aldridge

24.3 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, 23.30 PER, .518 TS%

FC

Dirk Nowitzki

21.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 23.9 PER, .589 TS%

FC

Dwight Howard

18.1 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 21.12 PER, .581 TS%

 

Again, taking a closer look at the starters, 25 seems to be the magic number. Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, and Stephen Curry are all 25, and have the most points per game. Kobe Bryant, 35, is the oldest member of all the starters (both conferences) and has a significant decrease in points per game with only 13.8, which is attributed to missing games, thanks to injuries. Bryant has been out since December 17th (missing the last 26 games) with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, and is averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 42.5 percent shooting this season. He also missed the Lakers’ first 19 games this season because of a torn Achilles in his left leg.

Based on the analysis, age could end up being a defining factor for the All-Star game (with the young kids coming in hard), but we know that being the youngest guy on the court does not necessarily mean you are the strongest or will perform under pressure. Some of the young athletes, such as Irving might step it up, but he still may need time to develop, and maybe an attitude check. Older players have the opposite problem – they have a better understanding and appreciation for the game, but have more physical limitations and injuries. However, Carmelo Anthony, even at an “aging” 29, he is still giving those young guys a run for the money and the four years he has on the western conference stars, might be his advantage.

We will find out when the players take the court for the 2014 NBA All-Star game in New Orleans this Sunday.

For more facts and stats on the All Star Game, check out this Slideshare:

2014 NBA All Star Game Facts from Jen Cohen Crompton

Resources: