Atlanta Hawks rookie guard Trae Young and veteran wing Vince Carter are undoubtedly at vastly different points in their basketball careers.
The eight-time All-Star was signed by the Hawks largely to help provide leadership to a young core including Young as well as John Collins, Kevin Huerter and Omari Spellman. His experience around the league is beyond valuable for a growing team like Atlanta.
Carter, 42, spoke to us earlier this season about the mentorship he was giving the 20-year-old Young after losses (via HoopsHype):
“I think these growing pains will help him last as long as he wants to in this league as he gets older, as the game slows down, as things get easier for him. So when he has been through some ups and downs and when he sees it for the second time around, it’ll be a lot easier.”
While the age difference between the two players is massive, it is not the most among teammates. In fact, it is not even the biggest discrepancy in their franchise history.
After winning a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003, big man Kevin Willis signed with the Hawks – which is the team that selected him in the first round of the 1984 draft. Willis previously spent an entire decade with Atlanta before returning. During the 2004-05 season, he was joined in the frontcourt by rookie power forward Josh Smith.
After his second stint with the Hawks, Willis spent his final professional season with the Dallas Mavericks. There, he was on the same roster as Jose Juan Barea in 2006-07. Barea was 22 in his first year in the NBA but the guard already played professional basketball overseas.
Willis was at least two full decades older than a total of seven his teammates during his career. Willis, however, is not the only player to have such an age discrepancy between his own and his teammates.
Nat Hickey was a guard during the 1920s and 1930s who also played fifteen seasons as a minor league baseball player. From 1944 until 1947, Hickey was a player-coach for three different basketball teams. Then in 1948, he played two games while also the coach for the Providence Steamrollers. He was just two days short of 46 years old.
Another notable age difference is between international Dallas Mavericks stars Luka Doncic and Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki is nearly 21 years older than Doncic, which is especially crazy because Doncic is just 19 years old.
Alberto del Roa contributed research to this report