Shaq announced his retirement on Wednesday, ending his 19-year NBA career. In 2010-11, he actually served as the league's oldest active player; he turned 39 years old in March. With Shaq's retirement comes a new champion of the middle-aged, as Kurt Thomas -- currently 38 years and 240 days old -- is in line to take the title of oldest active player.
That assumes that Thomas, the relic who played for the Chicago Bulls this season but fell out of Tom Thibodeau's rotation for much of the postseason, remains active. If he doesn't, Grant Hill, one day Thomas' junior, will take the mantle. Hill and Shaq were teammates on the Phoenix Suns for 18 months over half of 2007-08 and the entire 2008-09 season. In fact, that both renewed their good health in Phoenix, like fellow grizzled veteran Steve Nash, is the source of many Fountain of Youth jokes.
Shaq didn't come close to beating the age record set by Kevin Willis, who made his final NBA appearance in 2007 at the overripe age of 44 years and 224 days old.