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Unstoppable: The 5 Oldest Professional Athletes

When it comes to professional sports, sometimes age is just a number, especially for these unstoppable athletes. Not only are they some of the oldest in their fields, but they are also some of the best.

Learn more about these five athletes and some of their fantastic career highlights.

1. Kelly Slater (50)

Kelly Slater is one of the greatest professional surfers of all time, and he also happens to be one of the oldest. Slater was competing in World Surf League events before a lot of today's younger surfers were born. It's incredible what Slater can do on a wave, and it's even more impressive that he's 50 years old and shows no signs of stopping. Slater announced that he was retiring in 2018, but he's still competing (and beating) younger surfers. He remains one of the top names in the sport.1

2. Tom Brady (44)

Tom Brady is widely regarded as the greatest quarterback of all time. Brady holds nearly every major quarterback record, including passing yards, completions, touchdown passes, and games started, in addition to the most Pro Bowl selections. Never having a losing season, he is the NFL leader in career quarterback wins, regular season wins, quarterback playoff wins, and Super Bowl MVP awards, as well as the only Super Bowl MVP for two franchises. He's also the only quarterback to win a Super Bowl in three separate decades, and he is currently the oldest NFL MVP.2

3. Serena Williams (40)

Serena Williams announced her retirement from tennis on August 9, 2022, but she'll go down in history as one of the greatest players of all time. She and her sister, Venus Williams, changed the game forever, and she crushed it on the court. She has been ranked singles world No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) for 319 weeks, including 186 consecutive weeks, and she won 23 Grand Slam singles titles.3

As an older athlete, it's amazing that Serena remained one of the top players in the sport for as long as she did while maintaining a full, rich life. Retirement certainly won't be slowing her down. Serena owns a successful sustainable clothing line, is extremely active in crucial social change initiatives, is a mother, and serves on the board of Poshmark, a popular resale fashion site.3

4. Albert Pujols (42)

Albert Pujols is one of the oldest active players in Major League Baseball (MLB) and one of the most accomplished. He has spent the majority of his career playing with the St. Louis Cardinals, but he has also played with the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Throughout his career, Pujols has been a power hitter. He is third in major league history in runs batted in (RBIs) and is one of only four players to amass over 6,000 total bases. He is also ranked the fifth highest of all-time in-home runs and doubles.4

The 2022 season will be Pujols's last. He signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals to close out his career where it began.4

5. Lebron James (37)

We couldn't have a list of older professional athletes without including King James. Lebron James is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and he has also been playing for a whopping 19 seasons. He has competed in 10 NBA Finals, the third most of all time, and eight of those were consecutive. He is also the first player in NBA history to accumulate 10,000 or more career points, rebounds, and assists.5,6

These fantastic professional athletes don't let their ages define them. They might be some of the oldest in the game, but they remain some of the best. It just goes to show that everyone's career can look a little different and that when you find something you excel at, there's no reason you can't stick with it for decades.

  1. https://olympics.com/en/news/surfing-icon-kelly-slater-still-inspiring-at-50
  2. https://popculture.com/sports/news/tom-brady-retire-7-greatest-accomplisments-nfl-career/
  3. https://www.cnn.com/2013/09/13/us/serena-williams-fast-facts
  4. https://www.mlb.com/player/albert-pujols-405395
  5. https://www.nba.com/player/2544/lebron-james/bio
  6. https://www.nba.com/news/lebron-james-close-to-being-the-only-member-of-the-30k-10k-10k-club

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