Nat Hickey

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Nat Hickey
Personal information
Born(1902-01-30)January 30, 1902
DiedSeptember 16, 1979(1979-09-16) (aged 77)
Listed height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Listed weight180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
Playing career1921–1948
PositionGuard / Forward
Coaching career1944–1951
Career history
As player:
1921–1922Hoboken St. Joseph's
1922–1923Eddie Holly's Majors
1922–1923New York Crescents
1923–1925Eddie Holly's Majors
1925–1929Cleveland Rosenblums
1929–1931Chicago Bruins
1931–1934Original Celtics
1934–1935Boston Trojans
1935–1942Original Celtics
1944–1945Pittsburgh Raiders
1945–1946Indianapolis Kautskys
1946–1948Buffalo Braves / Tri-Cities Blackhawks
1948Providence Steamrollers
As coach:
1944–1945Pittsburgh Raiders
1945–1946Indianapolis Kautskys
1946–1948Tri-Cities Blackhawks
1948Providence Steamrollers (interim HC)
1950–1951Johnstown Clippers
Career highlights and awards
  • ABL champion (1926)
Stats at

Matthew J. "Nat" Hickey (January 30, 1902 – September 16, 1979)[1] was an American professional basketball coach/player and baseball player. He turned to coaching basketball after his retirement from playing in 1942, but returned to play two games with the Providence Steamrollers of the Basketball Association of America while serving as the team's coach in 1948. Aged 45 years old at the time of his two appearances, Hickey holds the record for the oldest player in NBA history.


As a 5'11" guard/forward, Hickey played from the 1920s through 1940s with multiple early professional teams, including the Hoboken St. Joseph's, Eddie Holly's Majors, New York Crescents, Eddie Holly's Majors, Cleveland Rosenblums, the Chicago Bruins, Boston Trojans, Original Celtics of the American Basketball League and the Pittsburgh Raiders, Indianapolis Kautskys, and Tri-Cities Blackhawks of the National Basketball League.

In the second year after the formation of the Basketball Association of America (the forerunner to the NBA), Hickey served 29 games as head coach of the Providence Steamrollers during the 1947–48 season. Hickey's team posted a 4–25 record during his tenure. He activated himself as a player on January 27, 1948, three days before his 46th birthday, and appeared in two games. He attempted six field goals – making none – and committed five personal fouls. He scored two points off of foul shots.[2] All of the shots occurred in his debut game as a player against the St. Louis Bombers. While he also played a day later against the New York Knickerbockers, he didn't record anything in that game. As a result of these games, Hickey still holds the record for the oldest player in NBA history at 45 years and 363 days.[3]


Aside from basketball, Hickey enjoyed a lengthy career in baseball, playing 15 minor league seasons and managing two. Hickey managed and played several seasons of minor league baseball as an outfielder. Notably, he was baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial's first minor league manager with the Williamson Colts in 1938.[4]


Nat Hickey died on September 16, 1979 and the date of death appeared in the Johnstown Tribune Obituary Index.

BAA career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played
 FG%  Field-goal percentage
 FT%  Free-throw percentage
 APG  Assists per game
 PPG  Points per game

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP FG% FT% APG PPG
1947–48 Providence 2 .000 .667 .0 1.0
Career 2 .000 .667 .0 1.0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Obituary Index" (PDF). Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.
  2. ^ Sachare, Alex (1994). The Official NBA basketball encyclopedia (1994 ed.). Villard Books. p. 577.
  3. ^ Boeck, Greg (April 2, 2007). "Mavericks make motivated Willis, 44, NBA's oldest player". USA Today. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  4. ^ Akin, William E. (2006). West Virginia Baseball: A History, 1865-2000. McFarland. p. 147. ISBN 9780786425709.

External links[edit]