Many athletes use their determination and desire to become one of the best at their particular sports, basking in the attention that all the hard work eventually receives. Once their skills diminish and age starts to reduce their effectiveness, it starts to become time for a career change. The challenges of retirement can include financial hardship, the question of what to do next, or even depression from missing being in the public's eye. It is quite interesting how some of the most successful athletes in sports have found it hard to step away from the limelight.
Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens have both been no strangers to success as wide receivers in the National Football League. Combined, they have almost 27,000 yards of receiving and 11 trips to the Pro Bowl. Despite all this success, they have both had their difficulties leaving the playing field behind. Boxing can even be more taxing on the body, yet Bernard Hopkins thrives so much on the hype, attention, and money he gets in the ring that he is still boxing at the age of 50. Tony Stewart has had plenty of success in auto racing, but accidentally killing another driver on the track and a subpar season in 2014 are not enough to keep him away from the sport. Even the great Michael Phelps has had his problems trying to stay on dry land. There is just something many of these great athletes miss that compels them to keep participating in their favorite sports.
The following 15 athletes have been major stars in their sports, and despite much success they can't seem to step out of the limelight to call it quits. For most of the members on this list, financial hardship is not a primary reason for wanting to continue being relevant. Most of them simply find it hard to step away from the light cast upon them by their adoring public.
15 Tiger Woods
14 Steve "Stone Cold" Austin
13 Mike Tyson
12 Jim Harbaugh
11 Bernard Hopkins
10 Stephanie McMahon
9 Caitlyn Jenner
Something about being around the Kardashians has rubbed off on Jenner. The former football player turned Olympic decathlete now enjoys the limelight as the transgender Caitlyn Jenner. Bruce Jenner was on top of the world when he won the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal. He toiled in film and television work following the Olympics, but failed to be as successful in front of a camera as in the Olympics. He got a taste of fame with the hit show, Keeping Up with The Kardashians, and eventually came out of not one, but two closets with his revelation that he was a transgender.
8 Ray Lewis
7 Ken Shamrock
6 Chad Johnson
5 Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady never seemed to measure up to the greatness of Kobe Bryant, the determination of Dwyane Wade or the consistency of Tim Duncan. He was, however, an incredible NBA talent who once averaged over 32 points per game for a season, and even had seven seasons with an average of at least five assists per game. McGrady ended up playing for six NBA teams and even spent a year playing in China for the Qingdao Eagles, where he averaged 25.0 points per game.
4 Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart is a stock car driver who recently turned 44 years old. Stewart has had a very successful NASCAR career with 61 career wins and over 340 top ten finishes in his rather lengthy, but illustrious career. Stewart's problems started when he broke his leg in 2013, ending his consecutive Sprint Cup starting streak at 521, a streak that went back to the 1999 Daytona 500.
3 Michael Phelps
2 Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens might have had a stellar NFL career, but many people probably remember him just as much for his antics during games as his accomplishments throughout his career. Owens did his best to establish a reputation for being immature, emotional and disrespectful on the playing field. He mocked people, as well as the league, and always seemed to need more attention than the attention he got from scoring a touchdown.
1 Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan is no stranger to controversy and attracting his share of attention. He recently got released by the WWE following racist language and comments that were leaked by the National Inquirer and Radar Online. He has been around professional wrestling since 1977, and has returned to the WWE four times, which doesn't even include his returns to other wrestling organizations. Hogan even parlayed his fame as a wrestler into a reality television show, Hogan Knows Best, as well as stints in other television and music ventures. Although much of what Hogan does and continues to do is about making a living, it is also obvious by his career choices that he misses being in the center of the ring working the crowd and earning more fame.
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