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20 Athletes Who Overstayed Their Welcome

When the party has died down and the last drinks have been called, there will always be someone who didn’t get the memo. They might have been the life of the party, but before long that awkward moment arrives where they’re explicitly told – “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

It’s the inconvenient truth all sports fans can relate to, that great player who tried to play on that one season too long because they felt they had it in them. Even when the members, the media and anyone with a pair of eyes could see the blinding obvious, they simply refused to accept their fate.

From the outside looking in, it’s easy to see why this would be the case. Since their junior days in High School and beyond, all these men have ever known is playing the game. Once the money, fame and adulation comes into the equation the addiction to this lifestyle becomes intoxicating, so giving that away on account of age is a huge life decision.

But what this does is hamper the evolution of the team and prevents another potential superstars from taking the stage. From Brett Favre to Jerry Rice and Kobe Bryant, the passing of time waits for no man. At a certain point the list manager has to earn their salary to help a franchise transition from relying on their key guy to developing the successor to fill their once great shoes.

Whether it’s football, basketball, baseball, soccer or boxing, the veterans who live life on the gravy train have a habit of squeezing as much lemon from the lemonade as physically possible. These are the 20 athletes who should have put the cue in the rack earlier by overstaying their welcome.

20 20. Patrick Ewing

via dailydsports.com

19 19. Ryan Giggs

via premiumtimesng.com

18 18. Rickey Henderson

via all-len-all.com

17 17. Brad Friedel

via independent.co.uk

16 16. Evander Holyfield

via evanderholyfield.com

15 15. Paolo Maldini

via panditfootball.com

14 14. Gordie Howe

via espn.go.com

13 13. Romario

via entretenimento.uol.com.br

12 12. Julio Franco

via gambardp.work

11 11. Sugar Ray Leonard

via fightsaga.com

10 10. Mark Schwarzer

via soccerissue.com

9 9. Jerry Rice

via nfl.com

8 8. Roger Clemens

via wikipedia.org

7 7. Javier Zanetti

via theapricity.com

6 6. Arnold Palmer

via arnoldpalmerdesign.com

5 5. Muhammad Ali

via attitudes4innovation.com

4 4. Michael Jordan

via graceandgusto.com

3 3. Kazuyoshi Miura

via theguardian.com

2 2. Brett Favre

via bdlsports.net

1 1. Kobe Bryant

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The end had to come and finally Kobe put the Lakers and the NBA out of their misery by announcing a retirement years in the making. Depending on your allegiances in basketball it is probably an indictment on the fans of the game that the news was met with relief rather than shock and sadness, but that’s the result of continuous rumor and speculation. The 5-time champion began to look a shadow of his former self as the 37-year old battled injury and a body that refused to do what it had done for 20 years in the NBA. He’ll be forever known as a legend of the sport, but perhaps with an asterix about how it finished.

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20 Athletes Who Overstayed Their Welcome