Best of the older bunch: Top players over 30 

MVP level production at an older age is becoming less rare 

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

Last week, I looked at the young talent and future faces of the NBA, MLB and NFL. The mark I set was for the age of 30, around the tail end of many athletes’ athletic primes. 

Usually, when there is a three to start your age as an athlete, it is time to set up the ol’ retirement plans and figure out what you want to do in your post-playing career. However, the 12 athletes listed here continue to dominate the league with no signs of slowing down. 


LeBron James (38)

The man who beat father time and an undisputed top two player in NBA history at a minimum. The 19-time All-Star, four-time MVP and four-time Champion is still playing at an elite level despite nearing 40 years old.

Playing every position from guard to center, James is averaging 29.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game in 2023. While the Lakers may miss the postseason due to injuries, they can still be contenders if everything goes right at the end of the season. 

Stephen Curry (35) 

Chef Curry just celebrated his 35th birthday and his career certainly has been a surprise. Being a small guard, his first several seasons in the league were hampered by ankle and knee problems that made it seem like he may become a bust.

Since then, he has been the centerpiece of a dynasty that has won four rings and has been a two-time MVP, becoming the first unanimous winner in the league’s history. 

In 2023, he is back to averaging 29.4 points per game on 50/40/90 shooting, an elite club for the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history. 

Damian Lillard (32) 

Despite being overshadowed by Curry in his career, Lillard has put up an amazing career while staying loyal to a Portland team that is not doing much to get him help. 

A top-five shooter ever, just a month ago, he had a 71-point performance with the second-most 3-pointers made in a single game ever. 

If he is able to bring the Blazers to a championship at the tail end of his career, his legacy will look a lot stronger than it already is. 

Kevin Durant (34) 

The Phoenix Suns’ recent addition is arguably the greatest pure-scorer in the NBA. A four-time scoring champ and one-time MVP, has averaged 27.3 points per game in his career and is averaging 29.5 in 2023. 

If he can return healthy for the playoffs, the Suns will make a deep push and may even come out on top, giving Durant his third and first legit ring in many fans’ eyes.  


Mike Trout (31)

Potentially the greatest non-steroid-using MLB player of all time is hampered by a lackluster team surrounding himself and Shohei Ohtani. The three-time MVP has an 82.4 WAR already and should have even more, but injuries have piled up over the past few seasons.

Going into 2023, there is optimism Trout’s Angels are finally equipped with a roster ready for a playoff berth, but it seems like that will not happen until he gets traded to a new team. 

Justin Verlander (40)

Like a fine wine, Verlander seems to get better with age. After missing the entirety of the 2021 season, he came back extremely strong in 2022, winning the Cy Young Award and leading his Astros back to yet another World Series victory. 

He is on the fast track to the hall of fame but first is headed to Queens to try to be a part of the Mets team that finally wins it all. 

Aaron Judge (30)

Fans witnessed the single-greatest offensive season from a non-steroid user from Judge in 2022. The new single-season AL home run king (62) had a 1.111 OPS and ran away with the MVP. 

It was his sixth-straight season with an OPS+ above 140 and if he avoids injuries, his skillset bodes well to age into his late 30s, meaning he has nearly a decade left of all-star production in the tank to hit bombs for the Yankees. 

Jacob DeGrom (34)

A player described as the most talented pitcher of all time is someone who is becoming a great what-if story. Already being 34, he has just 209 starts and 1,326 innings on his arm. A two-time Cy Young Award winner, his injuries have significantly hampered the greatest ability he could have: availability. 

Looking for a new start in 2023 with the Texas Rangers, his talent is what keeps him as one of the best players in the league despite his age. 


Aaron Donald (31)

Rumors swirled about the defensive tackles’ contemplation of retirement after winning a Super Bowl with the Rams. Beating the speculation, Donald is still going strong and is still producing at a high level.

With 103 career sacks and three Defensive Player of the Year Awards, he is a surefire Hall of Famer, while remaining one of the most dominant players on his side of the ball past 30. 

Aaron Rodgers (39)

The future New York Jet is nearly 40, but still is one of the best in the league at his position. His legacy is solidified and he could easily have retired any year now, but he is still going strong and hopes that he can bring his future new team over the hump and on a deep playoff run. 

Travis Kelce (33)

A record-breaking tight end on a dynasty Chiefs team and duo alongside Patrick Mahomes, this Kelce brother won his second Super Bowl last season. He is undisputedly a top player at his position all-time, ranking as low as third and as a high as first on most lists. 

While it is clear that there are just a few ultra-productive years left, his team is in a prime position to contend for Super Bowl Championships over the next half-decade with him in the fold. 

Jason Kelce (35)

If the Eagles had won the Super Bowl, Jason Kelce probably would have retired in the sunset like Peyton Manning had many years ago. The five-time All-Pro plays a less-than-glamorous position but has remained at the top of his position for many years.