Al Horford, Boston Celtics
Only four players in the entire NBA are older than Boston Celtic's Al Horford, who is averaging 8.0 PPG and 6.7 RPG this season Via Al Horford @Al_Horford on X/Twitter

SEATTLE -They say age is just a number, and for Al Horford, that seems to be the case. Playing in his 17th season in the NBA, the Dominican-born big man appears to be aging like fine wine as he closes in on a significant career milestone: 14,000 NBA points. The Puerto Plata native is just 36 points away from reaching this mark, a feat only two other players born in Latin America have accomplished in NBA history.

So far this season, only NBA superstar LeBron James (1,710) has played more minutes than Horford (1,224) among players aged 37 years or older, as he has been a key member of a Boston Celtics teams that sits at the top of the Eastern Conference ahead of the All-Star break.

Not only do the Celtics have the best record in the entire NBA (42-12), they have turned TD Garden into a fortress by losing only three of its home games this season (25-3) and they have a six-game advantage over second place in the Eastern Conference.

The addition of center Kristaps Porzingis, who is averaging 20 points and 7 rebounds in 52% shooting has definitely elevated the Celtics into one of the top contenders to come out of the East. The addition of Porzingis not only made the Celtics starting five a more competitive unit, but also gave them more squad depth with a brilliant Al Horford coming off the bench.

Last season, Horford started all 63 games he played during the regular season, but in 2023-24 things have changed, moving the Dominican to a more secondary role as he has only started in 22 of the 45 games he's played so far this campaign. Even though his minutes decreased, his production and impact on the court did not. He might be scoring less points, but Horford remains a reliable sharpshooter. His 40.9% efficiency from beyond the arc this season is the best by any player 37 or older, even better than LeBron James' who is attempting 5.4 3-pointers a game compared to Horford's 4.0.

In 2022, Al Horford dropped 26 points and 6 3-pointers in his NBA Finals debut.

With 13,964 career points as of Feb. 14, 2024, Horford would need less than 40 points in the remainder of the season to become just the 180th different player to reach the 14,000-point mark and only the third Latin American-born player to do so.

The last one to accomplish such feat was 4-time NBA champion and Hall-of-Famer Manu Ginóbili. The Argentine did not join the NBA until he was 25, but he had more than enough time to play 16 seasons for the San Antonio Spurs and finished his career with a total of 14,043 points in the regular season.

In his 16 seasons with the Spurs, Ginóbili managed to earn two All-Star appearances and the 2007-08 Sixth Man of the Year award. Much like Horford, Ginóbili aged like fine wine, allowing him to play in the NBA until he was 40 years old.

The other Latin American-born player to surpass the 14,000-point mark was Panamanian Rolando Blackman. 'Ro' started his NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks, where he played for 11 seasons before making a switch to the New York Knicks for the last two seasons of his NBA career.

Blackman was a great scorer, averaging 17 points or more in 10 of his 11 seasons with the Mavericks. His good performances earned Blackman four appearances in the All-Star game including three straight between 1985-87.

Blackman is the player born in Latin America with the most points scored in NBA history, finishing his 13-year career in the league with 17,623 regular season points. To this day, only Hall-of-Famer and Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki (31,560) is the only one with more points than Blackman (16,643) in franchise history.

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