The previous year of 2017 saw several young superstars made in almost every sport. Careers blossomed and fans all over are excited to see these guys dominate for the next decade-plus. However, there are also some players on the other end of that spectrum. The longtime veterans who are finally slowing down and letting Father Time catch up to their careers.
These players have wowed us with their skills and talents for many years, but are now coming to the tail ends of their careers in their respective sports. These are 15 world-class athletes that we believe will call it quits in 2018 — although in some cases, we could end being wrong. You’ll see what we mean…
15. Daniel and Henrik Sedin
Daniel and Henrik Sedin have been the faces of the Vancouver Canucks for almost two decades. They are seemingly always near the top of team scoring and have been consistent producers since entering the league in 2000. However, in recent years their production has dipped and they have given ice time away to a talented group of young players (such as Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser), who are likely the future of this team. They are simply past their prime, which isn’t a huge surprise considering they will turn 38 later in 2018. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them hang up the skates after this season. Yes, we realize this is technically two players, but they have basically done everything in their career together, so do not be surprised at all to see them retire at the same time too.
14. Bartolo Colon
Bartolo Colon has been in the MLB for over 20 years and has played for 10 teams in that time span. He has made All-Star games in three different decades and was the 2005 AL Cy Young winner. He has had a good career and his numbers prove it. However, he is a shell of his former self in 2018. At 44-years-old, the man known as “Big Sexy” was the oldest active player in the MLB in 2017. His age showed last season, as he put up terrible numbers and is currently a free agent. If he doesn’t get picked up soon, he will likely call it a career. We don’t see him getting picked up in the off-season, although he could find himself a job if a reliable starter goes down early with a serious injury. Even if he does pitch in 2018, it will likely be his final outing.
13. Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba is one of the single best African soccer players of all-time. The Ivory Coast native was the face of the national team and is one of the highest scorers of all-time for the prestigious Chelsea soccer team in England. He played at Chelsea from 2004 to 2012 and later returning to the club briefly in 2014. Since 2015, Drogba has been playing in the MLS and, most recently, the USL, which is a far cry from the leagues he used to play in. While he is still performing decently for Phoenix Rising FC (a club that he also has part ownership of), Drogba isn’t getting any younger. At nearly 40-years-old, now might be the time to call it quits.
12. Jarome Iginla
Jarome Iginla was the face of the Calgary Flames for many years and was one of the best captains in the NHL. He could do it all, from hitting, scoring, even throwing in the occasional fight. He is a six-time All-Star and has been in the NHL for over 20 years, with most of those being productive and successful years. However, once he departed from the Flames in 2012, he began to decline. He still puts up decent points, but his role has slowly been diminished and he is fading into obscurity fast, which is never what you want to see from a guy who was once as heralded as he was. Iginla is currently a 40-year-old free agent who played just 19 games for the L.A. Kings last season. No one has taken a chance on him in 2017-18 so far, so don’t be shocked to see him retire officially after this NHL season.
11. James Harrison
James Harrison was in the news a lot in 2017, as he voiced his disgust with how the Steelers treated him in 2017 before he was cut and ultimately joined the New England Patriots. While the guys still wants to think he can play football at a high level, father time is undefeated. Harrison is nearly 40-years-old and despite being in great shape, is no longer the every-down pass-rusher he was during his heyday in the late-2000s. He is a former Defensive Player of the Year and has made several Pro Bowls, but a 15-year career in the NFL will slow even the best players down. He can still make some plays, and could even have a shot at a third Super Bowl title with the Pats, but we doubt he will be around past 2018.
10. Adam Vinatieri
Whenever Adam Vinatieri retires, he will go down as one of the single best kickers in NFL history. He has been a superstar kicker for both the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts and has helped each win the Super Bowl. He is extremely accurate and very clutch, and literally does everything you want a kicker to do. He holds many different NFL records for the position. However, he is currently 45-years-old and has been kicking professionally since 1996. Once his contract is up (which it will officially be when the season ends after the Super Bowl), we won’t be shocked to see the Colts go younger and cheaper with their kicker, which would leave Vinatieri to likely retire as a sure-fire future Hall of Famer.
9. Larry Fitzgerald
For years, Larry Fitzgerald has been one of the most underrated wide receivers in the game. He has been playing at an extremely high level for pretty much every single year of his career. Not only is that impressive on its own, but he did this by playing mostly with some sub-par (or merely average) quarterbacks. If Fitz had a guy like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, there is no telling what he could have done. He has remained a true professional and remained very loyal to the Cardinals, so we would be shocked to see him play anywhere else. Also, with his quarterback and head coach (Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians) calling it quits recently, we won’t be shocked to see him follow along and also call it a career in 2018.
8. Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro Suzuki has been playing professional baseball since 1992, but only joined the MLB in 2001 at the age of 27. Immediately, he was a huge star in both America and his native Japan. He was not only one of the most popular players in the league, but one of the best as well. His hitting and fielding were second-to-none and he won the American MVP (and Rookie of the Year) in his first season and went on to make 10 straight All-Star game appearances. However, since the early 2010s he has been on a steep decline which ultimately culminated in his 2018 option not being picked up by the Miami Marlins. But there’s no shame in playing in the Bigs to the age of 44 and getting that milestone 3,000th hit, which he accomplished in 2017. Unless he signs somewhere within the next few months, it looks likely that Ichiro might finally be finished, ending his career with a remarkable 4,358 hits between Japan and North America (an almost unbreakable record).
7. David West
David West is one of those NBA players that has seemingly been around for as long as we can remember. He has been playing for 15 years and has had solid roles on numerous different teams. As a member of the New Orleans Hornets, he was averaging nearly 20 points/10 rebounds a game and was one of the best players in the league, making the All-Star team in 2008 and 2009. After stints in Indiana and San Antonio, he became a member of the Golden State Warriors and would win his first ever NBA championship in 2016-17. West is already in his late-30s though, and has been taking the vet minimum to try and win a title. It worked for him last year, and it just might work again in 2017-18, since the Warriors looks unbeatable. Don’t be shocked to see him retire soon, now that he has at least one championship ring.
6. Manu Ginobili
Manu debuted in the NBA in 2002 and has played his entire career for the San Antonio Spurs. He was part of the “Big Three” with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan that are seen as one of the best trios of all-time. Ginobili has won four NBA championships and is one of the toughest and most tenacious players of all time. Despite never being an amazing scorer or being an All-NBA First Team type player (and only two All-Star appearances), he is still beloved by all NBA fans. Ginobili is currently 40-years-old. While he is contributing to the team this year (like usual), his age has to catch up with him soon, especially with how he plays the game. He is technically under contract for one more season with the Spurs, but he may not last that long.
5. Zdeno Chara
Zdeno Chara is one of the biggest and most imposing NHL players of all-time and has had a career of over 20 years in the NHL. He has played for the Islanders and Senators, but is most well-known for being a member (and later captain) of the Boston Bruins, a role he has had for several years. However, at nearly 41-years-old, Chara doesn’t have anywhere close to the role he used to. The Bruins have brought in much younger and faster players who are cutting into Chara’s minutes. The gigantic Slovkakian is getting slower and more fatigued with each game that goes by, it seems. We think that it’s time for him to call it a career and let a new generation of Bruins players take over. The fact that his contract expires this summer will likely increase his chances of retiring.
4. Vince Carter
The things Vince Carter is able to do, still, at the age of nearly 41, are mind-blowing. Carter is a guy that burst onto the scene as a high flying dunker and dynamic scorer for the Toronto Raptors in the late 1990s. He would go on to play for several other teams and manage put up decent numbers with nearly all of them. He was an incredible scorer who averaged 20+ points a game for 10 of his professional seasons, which is rare. While he’s no longer a youngster displaying incredible athleticism on a nightly basis, he still regularly dunks in games and shows that he has been able to succeed even as an older role player. Despite still being a rotation player for the Sacramento Kings, don’t be shocked to see him retire after this season. Although he has teased a reunion with the Raptors, so stay tuned…
3. Jaromir Jagr
There are people who thought Jaromir Jagr was going to retire four or five years ago, but he continues to defy everyone and remain on an NHL roster. Jagr has been playing in the NHL since 1990 and has seemingly done everything there is to do — five Art Ross Trophies, one Hart Trophy, an incredible 13 All-Star appearances, and two Stanley Cups with the Penguins.
He has played for eight different NHL teams over the years (plus a few more in Europe) and has the second most points in NHL history, only behind the Great One himself. He is arguably the best European player ever and will go down as one of the best scorers in league history. At almost 46 years old, it is crazy that Jagr is still playing, but we feel this season will be his last. Of course, we could be wrong and he could play until he’s 50. Those one-year contracts seem to keep appearing for him.
2. Dirk Nowitzski
Dirk Nowitzski has been a staple on the Dallas Mavericks roster since he came into the league in 1998. Since then, he has made 13 All-Star games, won an NBA championship, and done just about everything else in the NBA (including an MVP award in 2007 and even winning the Three-Point Shootout in 2006). He will surely go down as an all-time great and likely the best international player of all time. He also revolutionized the game, as he was the first of a new breed of 7-footers who can shoot well and handle the ball — now it seems every team has one of those. When all is said and done, Dirk will be remembered as a top-five power forward and one of the most underrated players of our generation. He will be 40-years-old in 2018, so it seems he is nearing the end of his career. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban knows he has to move on eventually and start the rebuild, and we think it will happen after this season.
1. Tom Brady
When all is said and done and Tom Brady finally ends his amazing career, he will be remembered as the best quarterback of all-time. Actually, he’s basically already there. Not only are his stats outstanding, but he has been winning games at an unbelievable clip for well over a decade. He has won five Super Bowl rings (and was game MVP in four of them), two MVP awards, made 13 Pro Bowls, and has simply dominated every year, no matter who his receivers are. Not bad for a sixth round draft pick who many thought would never even become a starter. The Tom Brady retirement talk is thrown around a lot, now that he’s over-the-hill of 40. But if the Patriots win another Super Bowl this year, considering the mysterious reports of a power struggle between Brady and coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft, we could see him going out on top a la Jerome Bettis or Ray Lewis.