For sports fans, watching a superstar athlete in the twilight of their career can sometimes be difficult. As they age, players who were once dominant can struggle to maintain the same level of fitness, energy, and effectiveness, and their production often slides.
Yet some special athletes are able to have one last great season before they leave the game for good. These players are able to turn back the clock and put up terrific individual statistics, and in some instances help their teams win a title.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the last years of notable American pro athletes to determine the most memorable final seasons ever.
Hall of Fame players like Ray Bourque and Michael Strahan were dominant defenders for decades, but playoff success had always eluded them — until their final season. Both players were able to ride off into the sunset as champions.
Not every pro athlete gets a storybook ending, but some are able to play well and give their fans a few more fond memories before hanging up their cleats, sneakers, or skates for good.
To determine the most memorable final seasons ever, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the final seasons in the careers of notable athletes in the four major U.S. sports leagues — the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB — on the Sports Reference family of sites. Players were selected based on their statistical and postseason success. The player’s age refers to how old they were at the beginning of the season.