Biggest Retirements of 2016
Arguably the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL, Peyton Manning announced his retirement on March 7. Manning’s final four years were spent in Denver, but he played the majority of his career as the face of the Indianapolis Colts. Manning, 39, holds multiple NFL passing records, including career yards (71,940) and touchdown passes (539). Manning is a 14-time Pro Bowler and was named a first-team All-Pro 7 times. He won the NFL MVP five times and was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year twice. Manning was named MVP of Super Bowl XLI with the Colts and retires on the heels of the Broncos' Super Bowl 50 victory.
Kobe Bryant retired as one of the greatest NBA players of all time. In his 20-year NBA career, Kobe was named an All-Star 18 times and is currently third all time on the NBA scoring list. He has won five NBA titles, two finals MVPs, one regular season MVP and he is an 11-time All-NBA first team. The leading scorer in Los Angeles Lakers history, Kobe has also led the 2008 and 2012 US Olympic team to gold medals.
Two-time MVP, three-time Finals MVP and 15-time All-Star Tim Duncan announced his retirement after 19 seasons in the NBA. Duncan, 40, saw his effectiveness decline during his last season, particularly during the playoffs, when he averaged the lowest minutes and points of his career. The Spurs selected Duncan with the No. 1 overall pick out of Wake Forest in the 1997 NBA draft, and he spent his entire career with the franchise, leading the team to five championships. The Spurs have enjoyed unprecedented success during Duncan’s tenure with the club, winning titles in 1999, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2014. San Antonio has made the playoffs every year of Duncan’s career, and won 50-plus games in all but one of those seasons. San Antonio’s 67 wins in 2015–16 is the best mark in club history.
Kevin Garnett retired after agreeing on a contract buyout with the Timberwolves. Garnett was the No. 5 pick in the 1995 NBA draft, going directly from high school to the league. He spent 12 seasons with Minnesota, leading the franchise to their only appearance in a conference finals. He was traded to the Boston Celtics in the 2007 off-season and helped the team win an NBA title in his first season in Boston. One of the greatest two-way big men ever, KG was a 15-time NBA All-Star, the 2003-04 MVP and the 2007-08 Defensive Player of the Year while leading the Boston Celtics to a championship. Nicknamed “The Big Ticket,” “The Kid” and “The Franchise,” averaged 17.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 blocks for his career.
After 20 seasons, three World Series rings, 541 career home runs and countless chants of “PA-PI” from the Fenway Park bleachers, longtime Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz announced his retirement from baseball. But Ortiz didn’t go out quietly. The Dominican superstar put together one of the greatest final seasons in MLB history, hitting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and an AL-high 127 RBIs—all in his age-40 season. That earned Ortiz his 10th All-Star team nod as well as a sixth-place finish in the AL MVP voting, and he helped Boston win its first division title since 2013
Alex Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, announced his retirement on Aug. 7, telling the media that his last game would be Aug. 12. The No. 1 overall pick by the Mariners in 1993, A-Rod reached the majors one year later at age 18, was a superstar at 20, the best player on a playoff team at 24 and later a three-time AL MVP over a five-year period (2003-07). His 696 home runs trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) on the career list.
Winning 22 Olympic medals wasn’t enough for the best swimmer in history (and SI’s Greatest Olympian of All Time). In Rio, Michael Phelps—who served as the flagbearer for Team USA at the opening ceremony—added five more gold medals and a silver to his stockpile, putting his career total at an eye-popping 28. But Phelps’s in-pool performance was only part of what made the Rio Games so exceptional for the most successful Olympian of all time. At 31 years old, Phelps dedicated more time to his recovery (evidenced by the huge purple "cupping" bruises), and he appeared more relaxed and happier than ever out of the pool, with his new wife and infant cheering him on in the stands.
“It’s time for Dodger baseball!” There will be Dodger baseball again in 2017, but the man who made those words his signature during a remarkable 67-year broadcasting career will not be a part of it. Vin Scully retired at age 88 after almost seven decades calling games for the franchise, first in Brooklyn and then in Los Angeles. He debuted in 1950—the same year Connie Mack, born in 1862, retired as A’s manager—calling games for the Boys of Summer: Jackie, Pee Wee and Duke. He left in 2016 as the biggest star of all at Chavez Ravine and the last link to baseball’s Golden Age.
Tony Stewart, a three-time Cup series champion, retired just from NASCAR driving. He has an ownership stake in Stewart-Haas Racing and will continue to race all over the country next year at the grassroots level. Stewart is the only driver in history to win a championship in both IndyCar and NASCAR.
The Detroit Lions lost a mainstay in the offensive lineup when Johnson decided to hang up the cleats. The 6-foot-5 receiver notched his sixth consecutive 1,000-yard season in 2015, after catching 88 passes for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns. His nine-year career in Detroit finished with 11,619 receiving yards, good for 27th all time. Johnson’s retirement drew many questions, as he was only 30 years-old when he announced it and seemed to still be in the prime of his career. His was named to the Pro Bowl six times and named a first-team All-Pro three times. He holds the NFL single-season record for receiving yards after posting 1,964 yards in 2012. He was the second pick in the 2007 draft out of Georgia Tech.
Ray Allen officially announced his retirement on Nov. 1. He had not played since the 2013–14 season, but was mulling a comeback before this season. Allen won NBA championships in 2008 with the Celtics and in 2013 with the Heat, when he became a postseason hero for making a corner three-pointer in the Finals to elevate the Heat over the Spurs. Through his 18-year career, during which he played for the Bucks, SuperSonics, Celtics and Heat, he was selected as an All-Star 10 times and holds the record for most career three-pointers with 2,973.
Amar’e Stoudemire, 33, retired from basketball after 14 seasons. He opted to retire with the New York Knicks, where he played from 2010–2015. Stoudemire averaged 18.9 points and 7.8 rebounds for his career with the Suns, Knicks, Mavericks and Heat. He was a memorable piece of the Steve Nash-led Suns teams of the mid-2000s, anchoring the paint and running the fast break with explosive athleticism. Stoudemire was a six-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA selection, and the 2003 Rookie of the Year after the Suns drafted him ninth overall out of Cypress Creek High School in Orlando.
Lynch, also known as “Beast Mode,” had thought about retirement in 2014, but finally decided on it following the 2015 season. Lynch, 29, began his career in 2007 with the Buffalo Bills before being traded to the Seattle Seahawks in the middle of the 2010 season. With Seattle, Lynch topped 1,000 yards in four of his five full seasons, including appearing in two consecutive Super Bowls in 2015 and 2014. Lynch’s run against the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round of the 2010 playoffs helped establish his smash-mouth style of running the ball.
At 33, Jared Allen retired from the NFL after 12 seasons. Allen was drafted in the fourth round by the Chiefs in 2004. He spent the first four years of his professional career in Kansas City, leading the NFL with 15.5 sacks in his final year with the team. The Chiefs traded Allen to the Vikings in 2008 for a first-round draft pick and two third-round picks. He then signed a six-year, $74 million contract with Minnesota, making him the highest-paid defensive player in the league. Allen was selected to four Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams in his six seasons with the Vikings. He recorded 22 sacks in 2011, a half sack shy of Michael Strahan’s single-season record.
After an 11-year career, a 32-year-old Tuck announced he was done with football. A two-time Super Bowl winner with the New York Giants, Tuck finished his career with two years on the Oakland Raiders. The Notre Dame grad had 66.5 sacks in his career, including 5.5 more sacks in 10 career playoff games. He was named a first-team All-Pro in 2008 and was a two-time Pro Bowler.
Following 13 seasons in the NFL, cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman announced his retirement. Tillman, who played 12 years with the Chicago Bears and then the 2016 season with the Carolina Panthers, was known for his "Peanut Punch" that he used to force fumbles. His total of 44 forced fumbles was the highest among defensive backs since 1984, when the stat became official. Tillman retires having played 168 games with 38 interceptions. In his career, Tillman was a two-time Pro Bowler, a Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner, and First team All-Pro in 2012.
First baseman Mark Teixeira announced his plans to retire at the end of the season during a press conference on Aug. 6 Teixeira was in the last season of his eight-year, $180 million contract with the Yankees. Over the course of his career, the first baseman also played for the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels. A three-time All-Star and a five-time Gold Glove Award winner, Teixeira won a World Series with the Yankees in 2009. He has 409 career home runs..
Brad Richards won a Stanley Cup with both Chicago and Tampa Bay, and also won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2004 while with the Lightning. Richards started his career in Tampa, playing six-plus seasons before being traded to the Dallas Stars in 2008. Richards immediately became a top performer in Dallas, racking up 91 points during the 2009–10 season. In 2011, Richards signed a nine-year, $60 million deal with New York. After three seasons with the Rangers, he was bought out of the contract and joined the Blackhawks for one year, where he played an integral role in the team’s Stanley Cup run. Richards played in Detroit for his last season, recording 10 goals and 18 assists in 68 games. Richards retires with 932 points in 1,126 regular season games. He also registered 105 points in 146 playoff games.
Vincent Lecavalier was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 draft by Tampa Bay, and he won the Richard Trophy as the NHL's top goal-scorer while racking up a career-high 108 points during the 2006-07 season. The 36-year-old Lecavalier spent his first 14 NHL seasons with the Lightning, winning the Stanley Cup in 2004. He had a dispiriting 2 1/2-year stretch in Philadelphia, frequently sitting as a healthy scratch, before joining the Kings in a trade. Lecavalier scored 949 points in 1,212 regular-season games, including 421 goals. He was a four-time All-Star with 13 20-goal seasons.
Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney announced her retirement from elite gymnastics. Maroney was a member of the “Fierce Five” that won gold in the team event at the 2012 Olympics in London. Maroney also captured silver in the vault, which resulted in her photograph on the podium to go viral with her “not impressed” face. She suffered a fractured tibia in her left leg while performing the uneven bars during the 2012 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions in California.
Olympic gold medalist Kyla Ross announced her decision to retire from elite gymnastics on Twitter. At 15, Ross was a member of the 2012 “Fierce Five” that won team gold in London. With her decision to retire, she will not make a run for a spot on the 2016 team for the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Ross retires as a three-time U.S. champion and the 2012 Olympic Trials winner in the uneven bars.
Guard Logan Mankins decided to retire after 11 seasons in the NFL. Mankins, 34, played nine years with the New England Patriots, where he made six Pro Bowl teams and played in two Super Bowls. He was traded to Tampa Bay ahead of the 2014 season and started 33 games in the last two seasons before making this year's Pro Bowl team.
Andre Johnson retired from the NFL after 14 seasons on Oct. 31. He spent the first 12 seasons of his career with Houston, where he made the Pro Bowl seven times. He ranks ninth all-time with 1,062 catches and 10th with 14,185 yards receiving and also had 70 touchdowns. Johnson led the NFL in catches in 2006 (103) and in 2008 (115). He led the league in yards receiving in 2008 (1,575) and 2009 (1,569).
Arian Foster announced his retirement on Oct. 24 after suffering another lower body soft-tissue injury. He spent the first seven years of his career with the Houston Texans where he rushed for 6,472 of his 6,527 career yards and made four Pro Bowls. Foster scored all 54 of his touchdowns with the Texans. His best season was arguably his 2010 campaign in which he won the rushing title with 1,616 yards on 327 carries.
Two-time Olympic 400-meter hurdles gold medalist Felix Sanchez announced his retirement at the age of 38, months ahead of the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. Sanchez was born in the United States but his parents were Dominican and he decided to compete in the Olympics for the Dominican Republic. He won 43 straight 400-meter hurdles races between 2001 and 2004. He took home gold medals in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2012 games in London.
Sporting Kansas City veteran midfielder Brad Davis retired at the end of the season. Davis is third all-time in assists in MLS history with 123, and he has 57 goals to accompany them over time spent with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, Dallas Burn, San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo and Sporting KC. A six-time MLS All-Star and two-time MLS Cup champion, Davis was a runner-up for MLS MVP in 2011. He had seven seasons of double-digit assists and was a set-piece specialist with his precise left foot. Davis was on the USA's 2014 World Cup roster and has four assists in 17 caps for the U.S. national team.
Ana Ivanovic announced her retirement from professional tennis in a video on her Facebook page on Dec. 28. Ivanovic said her health is the main reason behind her decision, as she is no longer able to perform at 100% fitness due to various injuries. A former WTA No. 1 in 2008, Ivanovic struggled in 2016, finishing outside the Top 25 for the first time since 2004, her second year on tour. She finished the year with a record of 15-16, losing six first-round matches, and did not win a WTA title during the season. In recent years, injuries have held her back and she's had difficulties find the form that saw her win her only Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2008.
On the biggest stage in the history of the sport, former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate announced her retirement after being defeated soundly by Raquel Pennington at UFC 205. "I'm announcing my retirement. It's not my time anymore," Tate said inside the cage at Madison Square Garden. At UFC 196 in March, Tate defeated Holly Holm to win the UFC bantamweight title for the first time in her career. She was defeated by Amanda Nunes with a first-round knockout in the main event of UFC 200 in July. She is also famous for her rivalry with Ronda Rousey, who defeated Tate in Strikeforce to win the 135-pound strap. Prior to Holm, Tate was known as Rousey's toughest test, however it was Holm who knocked off Rousey and was defeated by Tate to win the UFC belt.
The skier best known for crushing the overall World Cup points record and celebrating her victories with a cartwheeling handspring, announced her retirement on Oct. 20. Two-time Olympic champion Tina Maze of Slovenia won her first of 13 medals at major championships in 2009, taking GS silver at the worlds in Val d'Isere, France. She added two more silver medals at the Vancouver Olympics the next year. She won Slovenia's first ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics by sharing victory in the Sochi downhill with Dominique Gisin of Switzerland.
Quitting at the top, Formula One champion Nico Rosberg shocked the world of motor racing on Dec. 2 by announcing he was retiring at the age of 31, five days after earning his first world championship. Rosberg won 23 races (tied for 12th all-time) and 30 pole positions (8th) from 206 races since his debut in 2006.
Bradley Wiggins announced his retirement from cycling on Dec. 28. Wiggins is the only rider to have combined winning both World and Olympic championships on both the track and the road, as well as winning the Tour de France (2012), and holding the iconic track hour record. In addition, he has worn the leader's jersey in each of the three Grand Tours of cycling and as of 2016 holds the world record in team pursuit.
Elton Brand announced his retirement on Oct. 20. He was the first overall pick out of Duke in the 1999 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls and was named rookie of the year. Brand played 17 seasons in the NBA and was in his second stint with the Sixers. He averaged 15.9 points and 8.5 rebounds in 1,058 games with the Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Sixers. Brand was a two-time All-Star when he spurned better offers and signed an $82 million, five-year free-agent contract in 2008 with Philadelphia.
Defenseman Dan Boyle retired from the NHL on Oct. 6 at SAP Center, where he played six seasons with the San Jose Sharks during a 17-year career. Boyle won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of his four NHL teams, won an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada in 2010 and was a two-time NHL All-Star. Boyle, who played his final two seasons with the New York Rangers, retired as San Jose's career leader among defensemen in points (269) and assists (201). He ranks second in goals (68) and shots (1,095).
Scott Gomez called it a career on Sept. 1, after 16 NHL seasons. His career spanned 1079 games for the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators, and included 181 goals and 756 points. The 27th pick in the 1998 draft by the Devils, Gomez tallied 19 goals and 70 points in his first season, earning an All-Star Game nod and claiming the Calder Trophy as top rookie in 1999. He won two Stanley Cups with New Jersey in 2000 and 2003 and added appearances with Team USA at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 2006 Olympics to his resume. The first Hispanic player in the NHL, Gomez was also the fifth Alaskan in the league.
Greg Jennings spent the first seven seasons of his career with Green Bay, where he caught 53 touchdowns and recorded 6,537 yards receiving yards. He left after the 2012 season and signed a a five-year, $45 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings, but played just two seasons in the purple, white and gold before being let go. Jennings is coming off a season in which he recorded just 19 receptions for 208 yards and one touchdown in 16 games for the Dolphins. The 32-year-old says that he can still physically play the game but that he has elected to move on. The two-time Pro Bowler finishes his career with 571 catches for 8,291 yards and 64 touchdowns. He was also a member of the Packers team that won Super Bowl XLV.
After leading the Seahawks, Titans, Packers and Colts over an 18-year NFL career, Matt Hasselbeck announced his retirement from the NFL on March 9. A sixth round selection by the Packers in the 1998 draft out of Boston College, Hasselbeck was named to the Pro Bowl three times in his NFL tenure. He finished his career with 36,638 passing yards, 212 touchdowns and a 60.5 completion percentage.
Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist has been retired and will begin his stud career next year in Kentucky. The 3-year-old colt won his first eight starts, with five Grade 1 victories that included the Kentucky Derby, Florida Derby and BC Juvenile, before losing his final three.
Beason, a former first-round pick of the Carolina Panthers, played in five games for the Giants last season. He hasn’t played 16 games in a year since 2010 when he was with the Panthers. Beason was released by the Giants shortly before his announcement to retire. He was drafted in the first round out of the University of Miami in 2007. He played in 16 games in each of his first four seasons, making the Pro Bowl three straight times from 2008–10.
Miller played all 11 of his seasons in the NFL with the Steelers, making the Pro Bowl twice. He won Super Bowls with the team after the 2005 and 2008 seasons. The Steelers selected Miller in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft. He appeared in 168 regular season games, starting 167 of them. Miller also started in all 15 of his playoff appearances. A fan favorite, Miller retired as the Steelers all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a tight end. He recorded 592 catches for 6,569 yards and 45 scores in his career. In Miller’s final season, he played in 15 games, catching 60 passes for 535 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers finished last season 10–6, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Linebacker Jerod Mayo announced his retirement after eight years with the New England Patriots. Mayo, 29, finished last season on injured reserve for the third straight year after sustaining an injury during the Patriots’ win over the Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs. Mayo was due over $10 million in base salary and bonuses in 2016. The Patriots selected Mayo No. 10 overall in the 2008 NFL draft. He played a key role for the team during his first five seasons, before injuries limited him to 12 games combined in 2013 and 2014. A two-time Pro Bowler, Mayo played 103 games in his career, with 803 combined tackles, eight forced fumbles and three interceptions.
Cornerback Rashean Mathis informed the Detroit Lions that he would retire after 13 seasons in the NFL. He ends his career having amassed 32 interceptions, 111 passes defended and 647 tackles in 10 seasons with the Jaguars and three with the Lions. Mathis missed the second half of last season with a brain injury before being placed on injured reserve. He was named First-Team All-Pro with the Jags following his eight-interception season in 2008.