T Nation

Any Top Athlete Go Out On Top?

Vikings RB Robert Smith

[quote]Derek542 wrote:
Jerome Bettis[/quote]

Nah, Willie Parker was the feature back that season. I liked Bettis, but he was actually a few years past his prime when he got his ring. His last good season as the lead back was in 2001, and even that was injury-shortened.

Phil Simms? Won a ring the year before, made the playoffs the year he retired.

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:

[quote]Derek542 wrote:
Jerome Bettis[/quote]

Nah, Willie Parker was the feature back that season. I liked Bettis, but he was actually a few years past his prime when he got his ring. His last good season as the lead back was in 2001, and even that was injury-shortened.[/quote]

True he was the short yardage back and not the featured, however he DID get the ring and then retire. Not many get that.

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:
Phil Simms? Won a ring the year before, made the playoffs the year he retired.[/quote]
He got beat 44-3 in his last game, had shoulder surgery, got released, no one signed him so he retired.

lennox lewis

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:
Greg Louganis, two golds in 1988, which was his last meet. [/quote]
Athletes in sports without big (or any) paychecks often go out while still on top or after winning gold.

Barry Sanders… could have been the league’s top RB for 3 more years

Jim Brown and Barry Sanders are the best examples here, along with the tennis players DB mentioned.
Sean Taylor was one of the best safeties in the NFL when he was killed. I know that’s not exactly what we’re talking about here, but thought it was worth mentioning.

Jake Plummer retired when he was 31. He left just because he didn’t want to play for the Bucs. They wanted him to play, since they had just traded for him.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Barry Sanders… could have been the league’s top RB for 3 more years[/quote]

That was the first name I thought of.

Just thought of another:
Lorena Ochoa. Retired at 28, was the best female player on the LPGA at the time.

Joe Calzaghe

Here’s a good one: Magic Johnson

Ed Coan?

Some pros actually love their sport more than the fame stuff and just keep going until they can’t anymore. The retarded sport fans are hardly in the position to bitch about those guys but of course do just that.

[quote]mbdix wrote:
Sorry to get off thread though. Jim Brown lefted at the top of his game. [/quote]
End thread after this one.

Although because of an injury, I think one of the greatest athletes of all time went out on top. Bo Jackson. If you don’t know who he is…then ‘you don’t know Bo’

It depends how you view it. I would say that Marvin Hagler, Joe Calzaghe, Lennox Lewis, Kurt Warner, and Eric Dickerson all could have stuck around and played/fought at an elite or top tier level. However being able to perform at a top level and perform at THEIR top level is different. Lennox Lewis still competed with top dog Vitali Klitscko when they fought, however make no mistake a prime Lewis would have handled himself far better than the Lewis that showed up that night.

The guys that left on top more than likly felt the decline was already there, it just wasn’t obvious yet.

Yea, Marciano is one of the few. Don’t get me started about Joe calslappy, you gotta BE on top before you can LEAVE on top.

[quote]Brett620 wrote:
Marvin Hagler. Anyone who knows the Sweet Science know he beat SRL by 2 points. Never fought again after.

Incredible athlete. [/quote]

Also true. Although he left more out of total disgust than anything else.

Roberto Duran and Tommy Hearns are examples of guys who kept fighting way past when they should have, although Duran did have some success later.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
Yea, Marciano is one of the few. [/quote]

He beat Joe lewis’ ass