One of the greatest Major League Baseball players has walked away from the game after 22 years. Ken Griffey Jr. shocked the sports world by abruptly announcing his retirement during the middle of the 2010 baseball season. At the age of 40, Griffey played sparingly during the season and was hitting .184 with no home runs and seven RBIs. During his career, Griffey hit 630 home runs and 1,836 RBIs.
Although Griffey’s retirement comes at an odd time, there are several other sports retirements that we will never forget. –a.r.
1) Magic Johnson – In 1991, Magic Johnson retired from the Los Angeles Lakers after he was diagnosed with HIV. At the time, Johnson was one of the biggest names to be stricken with the disease that became a worldwide epidemic and caused many in the black community to take notice of the seriousness of the virus. After retiring, the Hall of Fame point guard approached the business world with the same passion that he displayed on the basketball court. Johnson is currently worth $800 million and serves as a sports analyst on ABC.
2) Michael Jordan – The greatest NBA player of all-time was a bit conflicted when it came to retiring. He first retired in 1993 to pursue a dream of playing baseball, but he went back to the NBA after two seasons and preceded to win three more NBA titles. After retiring in 1998, Jordan returned to the NBA a half-step slower in 2001 when he signed with the Washington Wizards. Now retired for good, Jordan continues to make millions from endorsements and is the new majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. Jordan may have squandered away five good seasons by retiring early. We’d lay odds that he would pay his last dollar to play one more great season in his prime.
3) Barry Sanders – In 1999, Barry Sanders retired from the NFL at the age of 31 and and less than 2,000 yards away from breaking Walter Payton’s career rushing record. An honest man, Sanders even returned some of his bonus money to the Detroit Lions for breaking the contract. Sanders currently lives a low-key lifestyle with his family in West Bloomfield, Mich.
4) Allen Iverson – During the 2009–10 NBA season, Allen Iverson announced his retirement after playing only a few games with the Memphis Grizzles. But he soon returned all teary-eyed once the Philadelphia 76ers signed him a few days later. However, Iverson said that family issues were preventing him from focusing on the game and took the rest of the season off. Only a shell of his former self on the court, Iverson has lost his love for basketball and will likely retire again in 2010–11.