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Following the lead of Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki, Al Horford would like to extend his career into his fourth decade on the planet.
The Boston Celtics’ 12-year NBA big man told Brian Robb of the Boston Sports Journal wants to play until he’s 40.
“For me, as long as I’m healthy and feel good, I would like to play until I’m 40,” Horford told Robb. “Why not? As long as I’m healthy and feel good. I don’t want to be out there struggling or hurt or things like that.
“I really take the time to work on my body and I enjoy the game, so I wouldn’t see why I wouldn’t keep playing on it. I’m not going to put a limit on it. I’m just going to keep playing as long as I feel good.”
If Horford reaches his goal, he would become the 28th player in NBA history to still be playing in the league when they celebrate their 40th birthday, as Robb points out.
Horford, 32, has missed 10 games this season, most because of a knee injury, but has been a durable player throughout the vast majority of his career, save for the 2012-13 season, when he played only 29 games because of a torn pectoral muscle. In the first four seasons since, Horford played in at least 68 regular-season games.
“I feel good. It’s something that I don’t have any complaints about,” Horford said. “I dealt with that (knee issue) in December, but I think it was probably like mid-January, that’s when I felt back like myself.
“Hopefully, I won’t have any issues with it.”
Horford id averaging 13.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.4 blocked shots in 28.7 minutes in 57 games entering Monday night’s game at the Los Angeles Clippers, shooting 53.1 percent from the floor, 35.4 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and a career-best 82.6 percent from the free-throw line.
The third overall pick of the 2007 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks out of Florida, Horford has one season left at $30.1 million on his contract with Boston.