Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire People In Sports

Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

Originally By 29k votes 3.4k voters 83k views 67 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Athletes who retired too late

Athletes who waited too long to retire for one reason or another made the choice to continue playing, sometimes for several years, when really they should have thrown in the towel. These football, basketball, baseball, and hockey players, along with fighters, were once at the top of their respective sports but couldn't quit while they were ahead. Instead they played into their 40s, 50s and sometimes 60s, and sometimes hurt their teams in the process of their denial.

Arguably, this list contains some of the best athletes ever to play in their respective sports. Professional basketball player Michael Jordan, hockey player Gordie Howe, and boxer Muhammad Ali are all regarded as some of the best ever but sadly they also come in as athletes who played well past their prime. Instead of stopping when they started to decline, they continued to compete and a small part of their legacy suffered because of it.

Perhaps the most erroneous case of not knowing when to stop is former National Football League quarterback Brett Favre. Number four played atop the league for 17 seasons, mainly with the Green Bay Packers, before retiring after the 2007 season. What followed was what was called the annual Brett Favre unretirement, a process that lasted THREE YEARS. In 2008 he played (poorly) for the New York Jets, then he retired again. A few months later he returned to the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings for the 2009 campaign. Lather, rinse, and repeat again in 2010. Spoiler: None of those final seasons led to a Super Bowl victory.

Athletes on this list prove that just because you are great at what you do does not mean you can do it forever. We feel bad for those athletes whose careers ended too soon due to circumstances out of their control but we also go sick of the athletes who refused to retire when they were old and washed up. 
List Photo: user uploaded image
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    46

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    Evander Holyfield is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire


    Evander Holyfield age 53

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    age 73

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    most listed & added by UnclScrewtape
    age 66 1949

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    age 49

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    Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire


    Shaquille O'Neal age 43

  7. 7
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    Hulk Hogan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Hulk Hogan age 62

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    age 46

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    37

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  10. 10
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    Ric Flair is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Ric Flair

  11. 11
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    Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Terrell Owens age 42

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    40

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  13. 13
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    Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

    added by AdamKoalaSchoenberg
    Barry Bonds age 51

  14. 14
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    Patrick Ewing is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Patrick Ewing age 53

  15. 15
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    age 68

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    Sugar Ray Leonard is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Sugar Ray Leonard age 59

  17. 17
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    age 66

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  18. 18
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    Died at 69 (1933-2002)

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  19. 19
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    added by omh755
    Died at 67 (1914-1981)

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  20. 20
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    Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

    added by KXB13
    Alex Rodriguez age 40

  21. 21
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    Jesse Orosco is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Jesse Orosco age 58

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    age 52

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  23. 23
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    Steve Carlton is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

    added by bene
    Steve Carlton age 71

  24. 24
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    Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire


    Deion Sanders 48

  25. 25
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    Roy Jones Jr. is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Roy Jones Jr. age 46

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    Emmitt Smith is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire


    Emmitt Smith age 46

  27. 27
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    Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Peyton Manning 39

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    Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Karl Malone age 52

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    Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Hakeem Olajuwon age 52

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    age 43

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    Shawn Michaels is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Shawn Michaels age 50

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    Babe Ruth is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Babe Ruth Died at 53 (1895-1948)

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    Jimmy Connors is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Jimmy Connors age 63

  34. 34
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    age 57

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    Julio Franco is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

    added by KXB13
    Julio Franco age 57

  36. 36
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    Randy Moss is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

    added by Joshballinhard12
    Randy Moss age 38

  37. 37
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    Mickey Mantle is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

    added by KirkSaw
    Mickey Mantle Died at 64 (1931-1995)

  38. 38
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    added by RobLein
    age 84

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    Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Martin Brodeur age 43

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    age 42

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    Frank Thomas is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

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    Frank Thomas age 47

  42. 42
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    added by RodneyBlair
    Died at 62 (1903-1965)

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    age 36

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    Wade Boggs is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

    added by KirkSaw
    Wade Boggs age 57

  45. 45
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    Sachin Tendulkar is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

    added by RodneyBlair
    Sachin Tendulkar age 42

  46. 46
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    age 59

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    age 74

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    added by IanHarvey
    Died at 85 (1915-2000)

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    added by KirkSaw
    age 47

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    added by KirkSaw
    age 72

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