You’re Never too old to Compete
Since Topps last held the license to produce official NBA trading cards in 2010, most players in the Association don’t have cards with the brand (though that will be changing soon). There are, however, a select few veterans who have hung around in the game long enough that their rookie cards were made by Topps before 2010.
With the NBA Finals set to tip off tonight, check out which Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat vets have Topps RCs.
Udonis Haslem, Center, Miami Heat
At 42 years old, “UD” is the oldest player in the NBA… though he doesn’t exactly play much.
No one denies this elder statesman’s importance to the Heat, the only team he’s known in his 20-year career. (Haslem, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kobe Bryant are the only players in league history to clock 20 years with one franchise.) His teammates often go out of their way to assert how valuable Haslem is to the organization and its younger stars.
But don’t expect to see Haslem check-in for meaningful minutes this series because his contributions to Miami haven’t come on the floor for nearly a decade. The last time Haslem played more than 50 percent of Miami’s games was in 2015 when he averaged just over four points a game in about 16 minutes of action. With his retirement looming after the Finals conclude, Haslem is looking to cap off his illustrious career with a fourth title.
Kyle Lowry, Point Guard, Miami Heat
Though he started most of the regular season, this veteran point guard entered the playoffs as Miami’s sixth man, a role he hadn’t filled in nearly a decade. Lowry has come off the bench in all but one game this postseason, even with fellow guard Tyler Herro missing most of the first three playoff rounds.
Despite the apparent demotion, Lowry is playing much better than he did last postseason as a starter. His shooting percentages are up significantly, leading to more points per game on fewer shots. And the famously tenacious guard is also having an outsized impact on the defensive end.
Jeff Green, Power Forward, Denver Nuggets
The most senior member of the Nuggets is only one of two active NBA players that can say the following: He played for the Seattle SuperSonics. (The other is Kevin Durant.) One of Denver’s key bench contributors, Green, has averaged about 18 minutes per game in the 2023 playoffs. He’s on track to make his 100th appearance in the Playoffs in Game 2 of the Finals.
DeAndre Jordan, Center, Denver Nuggets
With superstar center Nikola Jokic playing almost 40 minutes per game in the postseason, there aren’t many more minutes to go around for the Nuggets’ backup centers. (Plus, when the Joker gets his breather, the Nuggets usually trot out a small-ball lineup without a traditional center.) A three-time All-NBA First Team selection, DeAndre Jordan likely won’t figure into the box score, but he’ll always be remembered for his role on the “Lob City” Los Angeles Clippers in the mid-2010s.
Kevin Love, Power Forward, Miami Heat
A late addition to this year’s Heat squad, Love joined the team as a free agent after being bought out of his contract by the Cleveland Cavaliers in March. Though he isn’t playing big minutes this postseason, Love has started 14 of the 16 playoff games in which he’s appeared.
By beating the Boston Celtics in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat kept one streak alive by ensuring that another year would pass without a team overcoming a 3-0 series deficit. But they also kept another alive: Kevin Love has made the postseason five times in his career, and he’s made the Finals every time.