We’ve been blessed with an influx of young talent across the sporting world. Look in any league, and chances are you’ll see young kids dominating. The NFL has Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Carson Wentz, Stefon Diggs, and Amari Cooper to name a few. The NBA’s youthful flash comes from guys like Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Kristaps Porzingis, and Joel Embiid. The NHL has allowed actual teenagers to take over, with Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Patrik Laine leading the charge.
To make room for these millennials, another group had to get edged out. A Prescott can’t start without first taking a job from a league staple like Tony Romo. It’s a truly melancholy era; we’re welcoming new exciting talent, but have to say goodbye to our old heroes: players we’ve grown up with; ones who revolutionized irrelevant franchises; talents who kept you glued to SportsCenter back before you could immediately watch highlights on your phone.
To help get you emotionally prepared, we’re back with more odds on which of your favorite stars will be calling it a career in the coming year.
Odds to retire in 2017
Paul Pierce, Los Angeles Clippers: 1/60
Ray Allen and KG already called it a career this fall, and the final piece of the Celtics’ championship “Big Three” has announced he’ll follow suit after the season. “The Truth” is that Pierce doesn’t offer much of anything at 39 years old. He’s barely getting on the court for a stacked Clippers team, and that’s not going to motivate him to change his mind.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks: 1/12
Sidelined for much of this season so far with an Achilles injury, Dirk isn’t giving the Mavericks much of a reason to pick up his option for next season. Unlikely to ever wear another jersey, it seems like this season will be the final one for the German icon.
Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs: 1/4
Putting up his lowest stats since his rookie year, Manu may be another player who takes a cue from a former teammate, joining Tim Duncan on the beach.
Vince Carter, Memphis Grizzlies: 3/4
Without Carter, there may not be a Wiggins, or a Tristan Thompson, or a Jamal Murray. Vince made basketball cool in the north, and although his “Air Canada” days are long behind him, the moment he finally calls it quits will be a sad one. He’s still capable of the odd big night, but it’s tough to see him playing past this season; he turns 40 in January.
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs: 10/1
Not that Pop cares about these things, but he’s 235 wins back of Don Nelson for the most all-time regular season wins as a head coach. It sounds like a lot for the 67-year-old, until you remember the Spurs have averaged about 57 wins a season since he’s been at the helm. Whether he is hunting down records or sticking around for the love of the game, Popovich is still doing far too well to step away now.
Bartolo Colon, Atlanta Braves: 1/1
Since Colon has a different definition of “playing shape” than most professional athletes, it’s conceivable the 43-year-old pitcher could keep coming back for Spring Training well past the Trump presidency.
Ichiro Suzuki, Miami Marlins: 7/2
He broke 3,000 hits. What else is left to accomplish? Well if you ask Ichiro, a lot.
Chase Utley, Free Agent: 3/1
The Dodgers have said they’re open to bringing back ol’ Slidey Mac-break-legs.
Ryan Howard, Free Agent: 5/1
Howard still has value in the MLB, just not the ridiculous amount he was getting paid in Philly. He’ll get another chance somewhere else.
Carlos Beltran, Free Agent: 9/1
Getting a lot of interest in free agency, Beltran should be able to find a contract to keep him playing for a few more seasons.
Joe Girardi, New York Yankees: 50/1
His biggest problem (A-Rod) has been forced out. Why would he call it quits now? This team is just getting good again.
Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens: 1/4
Smith made it sound like this would be his final season, but his head coach is already campaigning for a return in 2017, and it’s hard to blame him. The 37-year-old is still a game-breaker, and one of the best trash talkers of his generation.
DeMarcus Ware, Denver Broncos: 7/3
His contract is up at the end of the year, but there will be a market for the backer who ranks 10th all-time in sacks.
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: 3/1
Having spent his whole career in Dallas, it’ll be emotional for Romo to find a new home, to the point where the oft-injured QB could opt for retirement instead.
Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts: 8/1
Given the uneasy state of the kicking game in the NFL, I don’t think any GM in their right mind would let one of the game’s most accurate kickers retire. If Vinatieri wants to earn himself a nice raise for next season, all he has to do is “hem and haw” about coming back, and I’m sure the Colts (or another team) would make it worth his while.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots: 100/1
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots: 200/1
Shane Doan, Arizona Coyotes: 5/11
It’s been heartbreaking to watch Doan … I don’t want to say “waste” his career with the Coyotes, but he has definitely chosen the path of least responsibility, captaining only three playoff teams and never advancing to a Cup final. He seems opposed to playing anywhere else, meaning his career may end with his contract in Arizona.
Jarome Iginla, Colorado Avalanche: 4/5
At one point, it seemed inevitable Iginla would retire a Calgary Flame. Now, he’s in his third season with his fourth different team, and things aren’t going well. With four points in 19 games, Iggy is staring down the barrel of a sad realization; he’s just not NHL caliber anymore.
Jaromir Jagr, Florida Panthers: 11/10
“Jags” isn’t off to the hottest start of his career this year, which is bad news, because in his old age, he typically has a second half swoon. Yet his love of hockey, and more importantly the lifestyle, will likely keep him pulling a Chris Chelios and trying to come back, even long after anyone wants him.
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks: 6/1
Jumbo Joe is still awesome, and still on a contending Sharks team. They’d be crazy not to bring him back after this season. His running mate Patrick Marleau may be a different story.
Ronda Rousey, UFC: 5/16
“Rowdy” Ronda announced her retirement was coming soon, but when, specifically, is still up in the air. Miesha Tate has speculated it could come as early as after UFC 207, if Rousey loses. While there’s a gauntlet of challengers waiting for Rousey if she is still fighting next year, it’s tough to say how long she’ll want to keep going. If you’re already eyeballing retirement, how much can your heart really be into training?
Brock Lesnar, UFC: 13/2
Lesnar’s in a weird spot right now, only appearing in the WWE as his doping case is being reviewed by the USADA. Facing a maximum one-year suspension from MMA, the 39-year-old may choose to walk away from the sport once again.
Brock Lesnar, WWE: 40/1
As if his case with the USADA wasn’t enough, the WWE had him losing to old man Goldberg at Survivor Series. Though it’s hilarious, it’s also setting up a potentially lengthy storyline, one Lesnar is going to have to play along with if he can’t fight in the UFC.
The Rock, WWE: 65/1
It’s not like WWE is proving a real strain on the Rock. He’s just part-timing it now, making appearances at a few big events or whenever is convenient. Still one of wrestling’s biggest draws, I can’t imagine a Rock retirement storyline will be one they push next year.
Conor McGregor, UFC: 200/1
His brief “retirement” over the summer was simply a tactic to prove he’s by far the most valuable fighter in the UFC. Now with two titles to defend, there’s no way McGregor is going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
Bonus – Odds Floyd Mayweather stays retired in 2017: 22/1
Ol’ Money Mayweather will be quick to remind you that he’s set for life. If something’s going to lure the boxer into putting his undefeated record at stake one more time, it’d have to be something pretty special.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 9/4
Driving a car seems like a profession Earnhardt could do until the state revokes his license after his 90-year-old self crashes through the front door of a pharmacy. And yet, health complications could force the 42-year-old to call it quits far sooner. Currently recovering from the symptoms of his fourth concussion, the NASCAR driver has made it known he wants to continue. But when it comes to brain injuries, sometimes it doesn’t really matter how much you want it.
Roger Federer: 15/2
Federer is ancient in tennis years, and yet he’s still a top four player when healthy.
Maria Sharapova: 12/1
A two-year suspension is probably not the way she wants to go out.
Rafael Nadal: 30/1
Nadal has faced his fair share of injuries in his career, but he can’t call it a career. Otherwise, Novak Djokovic’s play will suffer.
Venus Williams: 40/1
The older Williams has stated she’d like to play until the 2020 Olympic Games. Those don’t take place next year.
Serena Williams: 50/1
Some have hinted Serena’s retirement is attached to Venus’, so I guess she’s playing til 2020.
Tiger Woods: 65/1
It’s golf. Has Jack Nicklaus even retired yet?
Lee Corso: 1/99
Hubie Brown: 16/1
He signed a three-year extension a few weeks back. That’s not the move of a man ready to call if a career.
Don Cherry: 30/1
In the words of Canada’s most controversial figure (which really goes to show how anti-conflict those people are), Cherry says his job “is not jack hammering.” He’ll keep doing it until the powers that be throw him out by the scruff of his ridiculous patterned jacket.
Brent Musburger: 50/1
The guy honored Vin Scully by calling a half of football solo. I’m sure he’ll also honor Scully by announcing until he’s 1,000 years old.
Dick Vitale: 80/1
You’ll have to drag him out of the broadcast booth in a body bag, baby!
Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].
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