While Derek Jeter is the only one that announced he will be retiring after this MLB season, there are other star athletes on the decline that may be following in Jeter’s footsteps in the near future. Derek Jeter has been the face of the Yankees organization for more than a decade. There are other athletes who have been the face of their franchise, or even their sport, who will be looking to take the final laps of their careers as well.
While coming off of a player of the year award in your sport can hardly be considered on the decline, Tiger Woods is judged based on one thing, Major Championships. Tiger has 14 career Major Championships and is four behind Jack Nicklaus for most all-time. Earlier in his career it seemed like only a matter of time before Woods would break Nicklaus’ long withstanding record.
Woods is 38 years old now, and has not won a Major since 2008. While he is without a doubt still one of the best players on the PGA circuit right now, each year it seems more and more unlikely that he will win another major. The expectations and standards set for Woods by the media, and by himself are set so astronomically high, that if he doesn’t win one, or multiple majors in a year, the entire season becomes a disappointment.
Tiger Woods is one of the most competitive people on the planet, and if he is not winning or at least a competitive force in Major Championships on a consistent basis, how long will he want to stay on the PGA tour?
The retiring of Derek Jeter may be the wake up call that many other declining star athletes need to remind them that they cannot play professionally forever.
Many people regard Roger Federer as the greatest tennis player to ever string a racket. Federer has won 17 career grand slam titles, which is the most in the history of tennis. Federer is now 32 years and currently sits at number eight in the world ATP rankings, his lowest ranking since October of 2002.
Federer is 32 years old now and has not won a Grand Slam since 2012. After Stanislas Wawrinka’s victory at the Australian Open this year, Federer is not even the highest ranked Swiss player on the tour, as Wawrinka is currently third in the world.
Federer has stated that he will not retire until he is physically unable to continue to compete at a high level. But with someone as competitive and prideful as Federer, how long will he continue to play, if he is unable to beat the top players in the world? And besides, Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods, and Roger Federer were all part of those old Gillette razor commercials, would it not be fitting that they all retire around the same time?
Similarly to Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant has been the face of a franchise for over a decade. The Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant are synonymous with one another. Before LeBron James took over as the face of the NBA, Kobe Bryant dominated the League.
Bryant is a former league MVP, and a five time NBA Champion. But at 35 years old, Bryant is unable to put an entire team on his back and lead them through a playoff run like he would in his prime.
Bryant is still one of the most popular basketball players on the planet, as demonstrated this season. Bryant has played only six games this NBA season due to a knee and achilles injury, and still he was voted by the fans into this years NBA All-Star game. His Jersey sales are still amongst the top of all NBA players and he is one of the most recognizable faces across the league.
It is still unknown as to when Kobe will return to the Los Angeles Lakers lineup, but his body does not recover as quickly as it did when he was younger. If he cannot perform as one of the elite players in the NBA who knows how long he will continue to play in the NBA.
It will be the end of an era and a sad time for their league when these superstar athletes finally succumb to father time and retire. The retirement announcement from Derek Jeter may influence other declining star athletes to begin thinking about life after their sport.
Commentary By Eric Kummel