The Oldest NBA Players With the Most Staying Power Have This in Common

Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat dribbles the ball against Treveon Graham #21 of the Brooklyn Nets
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The NBA’s oldest player, Vince Carter, and Dwayne Wade are banging the boards longer—and knowing why helps the rest of us. Guys who invest more in developing motor skills early in their careers have more staying power, finds research from the University of Oxford in the U.K., using 50 years of stats. So no, being the oldest guy on the team isn’t a bad thing.

And it makes sense. If you start honing your skills in your first year as a pro, by the time you start to slow down, you have a decade of practice in efficiency. If you’re overreliant on fitness, you won’t have fundamentals to lean on later. You don’t need to play ball to apply the findings either.

Anyone who plays a recreational sport, or has a skill-based job or hobby, should work super-hard on job- or pastime-related skills—what researchers call context-specific information. In your old age, you can step on the court and show the young’uns who’s boss.