Thanks for the Memories! A look back at athletes who hung 'em up in 2016
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 31, 2016 05:22 PM
MAMBA OUT. Of the number of big stars that bid goodbye to their respective sports in 2016, there was arguably no bigger name than that of multi-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant
As great as 2016 was in terms of sports moments, there were also a ton of big names who decided to hang 'em up in 2016. From a few of basketball's all-time greats, pioneers in the world of MMA, and a handful of gridiron greats, let's take a look back at sports stars who called it a career, this past year.
HONORABLE MENTION: Manny Pacquiao
We put the one and only Pacman in this list because technically, he did retire in 2016...but then came back months later.
In one of the more shocking twists of 2016, Conor McGregor decided to announce his retirement on Twitter, only to return to the Octagon a few months later, and eventually make history as the UFC's first ever simultaneous two-division world champion.
With that being said, let's start the show!
Late in 2016, 31-year old Formula One star Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from the sport after winning the 2016 World Driver's Championships. In a career spanning over 15 years, the German Mercedes AMG star recorded 23 Formula One wins, 30 Formula One pole positions, and capped of his final year by becoming the 2016 Formula One World Champion.
What else is there to say about the great Michael Phelps? 23 Olympic gold medals, 39 world records set, and even more awards and accolades. The 31-year old began turning heads in 2000, and after making his OIympic debut back in the 2004 Athens Olympics, where he raked in six gold medals, the rest was history.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Phelps closed his career out with a record 23rd gold medal.
English football great Steven Gerrard retired from professional football in late November, after 13 years with Liverpool, and one year with the LA Galaxy. The former Liverpool skipper had 504 appearances for The Reds, while converting 102 goals. Gerrard is a one-time UEFA Champions League winner, a Ballon D'or Bronze medalist in 2005, and the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year during the same year. In his final professional year with the Galaxy, Gerrard put in 34 appearances and five goals.
After sitting out the last few world cup qualifier matches due to an injury, Philippine Azkals team captain Rob Gier announced in early 2016 that he'd be hanging his spikes up for good. The 35-year old spent six years with the Philippine national team, appearing in 66 matches and scoring two goals.
At 36-year old, Juani Guirado also announced his retirement from the Philippine national team, saying that his body was no longer able to keep up with the level of competition. While he has still made appearances in his club team, Guirado will definitely be missed in the country's colors.
At 51-years old, former light heavyweight and middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins finally called it a career. Spanning 28 years and 67 professional fights, "The Executioner" compiled a 55-8-2 record, with 32 wins via knockout. Hopkins held the IBF, WBA, WBC, The Ring and lineal middleweight championships before moving up to win the IBO, The Ring, WBC, and IBF light heavyweight championships.
His final fight, just last December 17, was a brutal KO loss to Joe Smith Jr. in the eighth round.
BASEBALL BIG TIMERS
After a career spanning nearly two decades, superstar hitter David "Big Papi" Ortiz announced that he would be calling it quits after the 2015-2016 MLB Season. Ortiz was a 10-time All Star, a three-time World Series champion, a World Series MVP and an ALCS MVP. In his near-20 year career, Big Papi had a .286 batting average, made 2472 hits and knocked out 541 homers.
Another hitter that called it a career this year was Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, who closed out a thirteen year career with three All Star nods, five Golden Glove honors, and a World Series title. Throughout his 13-year career, Teixiera averaged .269 on the bat, while knocking out 409 home runs.
SQUARED CIRCLE SUPERSTAR
Just two years after reaching the pinnacle of the industry, WWE superstar Daniel Bryan (born Bryan Danielson) announced his retirement from in-ring competition in 2016. Bryan stated that medical reasons have been the cause for his untimely retirment. While the "YES" man is still a visible figure as Smackdown Live's General Manager, Bryan's in-ring technical skills and savvy is still something that most fans miss seeing.
GROUND AND POUND PIONEERS
One of the true pioneers of women's mixed martial arts, Miesha "Cupcake" Tate announced her retirement following a loss to up-and-comer Raqcuel Pennington. At that point, Tate was 18-7 in her professional career, but most importantly, by that time, she had already held the Strikeforce and UFC bantamweight championships. Now, she begins life outside the Octagon as a panelist for FOX Sports.
Another pioneer of the sport, "The California Kid" Urijah Faber was considered the best fighter under 155-pounds for the better part of his career, and was the face of the WEC for a long time. The former WEC featherweight king and multi-time UFC title contender finished his career with a 34-10 record, and a legendary resume that includes fights against Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, Frankie Edgar, and many more.
Probably no other sport saw more stars retire in 2016 than in american football. While we won't be able to discuss all of them, we'll be talking about the most notable ones, starting with...
Two Superbowl rings, five NFL MVPs, one Superbowl MVP, 14 Pro Bowl selections, and the list goes on. Peyton Manning is no doubt one of the best in the world, and what better way to cap off an impressive career, than with a Superbowl win.
At just 31 years of age, Calvin "Megatron" Johnson made the decision to call it a career after having played eight seasons with the Detroit Lions. The number two pick in the 2007 NFL draft, Johnson went on to garner six Pro Bowl selections, and five All Pro selections. The star wide recieved ended his career with 731 receptions and 11, 619 yards.
Another young retiree, Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch announced his retirement during Superbowl 50, and then confirmed it on an interview on 60 Minutes. Before calling it quits however, Lynch left a mark with a Superbowl win, five Pro Bowl selections, and two All Pro selections.
While the NFL had the most retirees, it was basketball that had the biggest names to leave, with four former champions and multi-time All Stars, all saying goodbye in 2016. Of course, none of them was bigger than
No question. Kobe Bryant was the best basketball player during his generation.
Five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, one-time season MVP, 18-time NBA All Star, four-time NBA All Star MVP, 11-time NBA First Team selection, and countless of clutch moments and memories for Los Angeles Lakers fans the world over. Simply put, The Black Mamba is one of the best. Ever. Plus, who else would go out the way he did, and drop 60 points in his final outing?
From one great to another, Tim Duncan confirmed his retirement after the 2015-2016 NBA season, and while Kobe Bryant had a whole season of tributes and farewell tours, Timmy did as Timmy does, and quietly went out into the night. Still, "the Big Fundamental's" impact on the game is far from quiet. Five-time NBA champion, three-time Finals MVP, two-time NBA MVP, 15-time NBA All Star, ten-time All-NBA First Team, Rookie of the Year, and so on.
"The Big Ticket" may not have had as many championships as Kobe and TD, but Kevin Garnett is more than deserving of all the praise he's had in his illustrious 21-year career. From a kid in Minnesota, KG grew to become one of the league's most respected players. Garnett is a one-time NBA champion, a one-time NBA MVP, a 15-time NBA All Star, a one-time NBA All Star MVP, and a four time All-NBA team member, among other honors.
After a season of speculation on whether or not he'd be coming back, Ray Allen announced his retirement early into the 2016-2017 NBA season. The sweet-shooting swingman was a two-time NBA champion, a ten-time NBA All-Star, and the first in all-time three point shots made with 2973.
2016 was definitely a big year in terms of sports retirements. What will 2017 hold? Who do you think's going to follow these stars out the door in the coming year?