Give Me a Chance: Meet the 61 Year Old Trying to Make it to the NBA

They say to never give up on your dreams and ambitious grandpa Calvin Roberts is living by that motto as he attempts to do the unthinkable- play in the NBA as a 61 year old!

“I want to go out against the best, the youngest. [That] makes me play better. I just have a goal I have to reach and I’m not going to let anything stand in my way to get there.” said Roberts in a recent interview.

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Aside from his age, Roberts isn’t your typical NBA aspirant due to the fact that he has already been drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in 1980, played against Magic Johnson in College and also competed for 15 years in professional basketball overseas.

His journey back to basketball began just over a year ago when his wife suggested that Roberts get into shape so he could play basketball with their kids. Once he began shooting around, he realised something- he felt great. In fact after 18 years away from basketball his joints were feeling better than ever, prompting the 61 year old to amp up his training regime.

He began by changing his shifts at Sam’s Club to the night time so he could spend more hours training during the day. Lifting weights and sprint training complemented by basketball specific drills were on the cards for the once NBA draftee. From there Roberts began to feel more confident of his chances and he sent off letters to the Spurs, Atlanta Hawks along with the Los Angeles Clippers, asking for a spot on their Summer League roster.


Photo Via Natalia Roberts

Unfortunately his hopes were dashed when no team made contact. He even reached out to one time foe, Magic Johnson for an opportunity but once again it fell on deaf ears. Despite not getting a chance at the summer league, Roberts still attended the event in his now home town of Las Vegas in hopes that someone would reach out.

With the summer league now run and won, with no sign of Roberts on the court hasn’t deterred the ambitious old man who is yet to rule out an NBA berth. But the old in age but young in aspirations man has vowed to become the oldest player in the NBA one day.

In fact the oldest player in NBA history was Nat Hickey in 1948 when he as coach entered himself into the game, just two days short of his 46th birthday. The oldest current player in the league is Vince Carter at 40 years of age. To put Roberts’ plight into perspective he was in his freshman season at Cal State Fullerton when Carter was born.

How long I’ll keep doing it? I don’t know. Until somebody acknowledges that I’m trying to get on a team,” Roberts said. “They can give me a yes or no answer. That’s all I’m asking for.”

Will he make it? Not a chance. But you can’t fault him for giving it a crack and shows that it doesn’t hurt to chase your dreams, no matter how crazy they may seem.

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