What is the Average NBA Retirement Age

The National Basketball Association (NBA) retirement age is not set in stone and varies from player to player. Some players may retire at a younger age due to physical or mental health concerns, while others may continue to play well into their later years.

The average retirement age for an NBA player is around 35, although a few exceptions have played into their 40s. Factors influencing a player’s decision to retire include:

  • Declining physical abilities.
  • The desire to pursue other opportunities.
  • The financial security of their career.

Ultimately, the decision to retire is a personal decision that each player must make based on their or circumstances.

Why do NBA Players Retire

There are many reasons why NBA players may decide to retire. Some players may make retirement from NBA due to injury, age, or declining physical ability. In contrast, others may retire to pursue other interests or to spend more time with their families.

Some players may also retire due to the demands of the NBA schedule. Additionally, some players may retire because they feel they have achieved all they can in their careers and are no longer motivated to continue playing. Ultimately, the decision to retire is a personal one that various factors can influence.

The Physical Challenges of Aging in the NBA

In the NBA, the aging and physical decline can be significant factors that lead to retirement. As players age, their bodies may not work well, and they may need to be faster, more agile, and quick. 

It can make it harder for them to play well, and they might play less or get cut off the team. Additionally, older players may face injuries and slower recovery, leading to retirement for health preservation.

The Role of Illness in an NBA Player’s Decision to Retire

Illness can significantly impact an NBA player’s decision to retire. Many professional basketball players can play at a high level for many years. But the physical demands of the sport can take a toll on their bodies. 

Illnesses like the flu or other respiratory infections can also impact a player’s performance and ability to compete. When players cannot perform at their best due to illnesses, it can lead to a decline in their career and, ultimately, the decision to retire. Players may sometimes choose to retire before they reach the end of their careers to preserve their health and well-being.

The Impact of Age and Declining Skill on NBA Players

In the NBA, it is common for players to retire before they reach the end of their careers due to underperformance. This can happen for various reasons, including age or a decline in skill. In comparison, others may continue to play into their late 30s or even their 40s. According to data from the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the average age at which NBA players retirement is around 34. Players who can no longer contribute at the expected level may decide to step away from the game and retire. 

This can be a difficult decision for any player, as the NBA is a highly competitive and demanding league. And many players have dedicated their entire lives to achieving success on the court. However, for those who can no longer perform at the highest level, retirement may be the best option to preserve their health.

Personal and Legal Issues in NBA Player Retirement

There are a variety of personal and legal reasons why an NBA player might choose to retire from professional basketball. A desire to spend more time with family and friends, or to pursue other careers or personal interests, may motivate an individual on a personal level. 

Legal reasons for retirement may include expired or terminated contracts and issues related to the player’s immigration status or eligibility to participate in the league. In some cases, NBA players may retire due to disciplinary action or legal issues related to their conduct.

Michael Jordan

After retiring from professional basketball, Michael Jordan remained involved by owning the Charlotte Hornets. He also ventured into other business endeavors, such as opening a chain of steakhouse restaurants and partnering with brands like Gatorade and Hanes. 

Jordan has made a philanthropic impact by donating $5 million to establish the Jordan Institute for Families at the University of North Carolina School for Social Work, in addition to his business endeavors. He also has a Golf Course design company and became a successful professional golfer. He occasionally makes appearances in films, television shows, and other projects.

Chris Bosh

After retiring from the NBA, Chris Bosh has been involved in various endeavors. He has worked as an analyst and commentator for various television networks, including TNT and ESPN. He has also actively participated in philanthropic efforts, specifically focusing on supporting education and mentorship programs for underprivileged youth.

In addition, he has been investing in and working with various technology startups and has also been involved in real estate development. Furthermore, he has been actively participating in charity events and working on his brand, including launching his website and clothing line.

Magic Johnson

After retiring from professional basketball in 1991, Magic Johnson has been involved in various business ventures and philanthropic efforts. He is the founder of Magic Johnson Enterprises, a company that invests in urban communities and promotes diversity and inclusion in the business world. He has also been a television commentator and analyst and has served as a mentor and advisor to several NBA players. 

Additionally, Johnson is a philanthropist and has been actively involved in HIV/AIDS awareness and education. He founded the Magic Johnson Foundation in 1991 to help raise funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS research and support services. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and is a spokesperson for various companies.

Brandon Roy

Brandon Roy, a retired professional basketball player, has been involved in many activities since he retired. After suffering from a career-ending knee injury, Roy turned his attention to coaching, serving as an assistant coach for Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, his alma mater. He also became a player development coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Roy established the Brandon Roy Foundation to support underprivileged youth in the Pacific Northwest. He has also been active in his community, working with local organizations to promote health and wellness among young people. Overall, after he retired from professional basketball, Roy has been busy staying involved in the game through coaching and giving back to the community through charitable work.

Benefits after Retirement

In the NBA, players are paid a specified salary for a set number of years during their active playing careers. After contract expiration or retirement, their teams and the NBA no longer pay players. 

However, players playing in the NBA may be entitled to certain benefits after their careers are over. For example, players who have been in the league for at least three seasons are eligible for pension benefits from the NBPA.

National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). 

The NBPA Pension Plan provides a retirement benefit to eligible players based on their years of service and income level while playing. In addition to pension benefits, former NBA players may also be eligible for post-career medical benefits. 

The NBA and the NBPA have a “Legends Care Program,” which provides certain medical benefits to former players. The program covers various medical services, including hospitalization, surgeries, and prescription medications. It’s worth noting that the specifics of these benefits can vary, and they are not guaranteed to all players. Players must understand their rights and benefits as they plan their post-playing careers.

What do Players Normally do After Retirement?

There are many paths that NBA players can take after they retire from playing professionally. Some players stay involved in the game by becoming coaches, analysts, or broadcasters. Others may decide to start a business or pursue other interests outside of basketball. Here are a few examples of what some NBA players have done after retiring:


Many former players decide to stay involved in the game by becoming coaches. Examples include Steve Kerr, who won multiple NBA championships as a player and now coaches the Golden State Warriors. Mark Jackson, a 17-year NBA veteran, is the head coach of the Houston Rockets.


Some players transition into broadcasting after their playing careers are over. Former NBA players who have become broadcasters include Charles Barkley, an analyst for Turner Sports, and Shaquille O’Neal, a commentator for TNT’s “Inside the NBA.”

Business Ventures:

Some players use their fame and wealth to start their businesses after retiring from the NBA. For example, Magic Johnson is a successful entrepreneur who has invested in several different businesses, including movie theaters, fitness centers, and restaurants.


Some players use their time and resources to give back to their communities after retiring. For example, LeBron James has established several charitable organizations, including the LeBron James Family Foundation, which focuses on education and youth development.

Other Pursuits:

Some players may choose to pursue other interests outside of basketball after retiring. For example, Kobe Bryant was an avid reader and wrote several children’s books after he retired from the NBA.


A player’s retirement marks the end of a professional basketball career in the NBA. It can be a difficult decision for the player to make as they must consider their physical health, personal goals, and plans. Despite their departure from the court, their contributions to the game will not be forgotten. And they will be remembered as some of the greatest players in the history of the NBA. It’s worth noting that there is no set retirement age in the NBA, and players may choose to retire at different ages based on their considerations.