Many basketball fans believe Michael Jordan is the king of basketball, while others regard LeBron James as their ‘GOAT’ or Greatest Of All Time. Regardless of where you fall on the divide, you can admit that James, NBA’s all-time leading scorer, has a strong claim for the GOAT. At 38, King James continued to drop elite numbers, which is why many were surprised when he dropped retirement hints.
After the Nuggets’ win over the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, James sparked speculations that he is considering retirement by saying, “…with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about.” If the Lakers man eventually makes a retirement announcement in the coming weeks, he will not be the first player to shock the basketball world with such news.
Before you start making plans for next season, whether placing bets involving James or exploiting Bitcoin casino no deposit bonus, you should expect a retirement announcement at any time. Here are other players who shocked fans with their retirement news:
- Michael Jordan
Career Span: 1984-1993
Retirement Age: 30
As we pointed out earlier, Jordan is always in the conversation of the greats, thanks to his magnificent achievements when he was in the game. Jordan had just won his third consecutive championship with the Bulls in the 1992-93 season and was gearing up for the 1993-94 season when the shocker dropped: He announced that he was retiring from the NBA ahead of the season.
The three-time MVP and nine-time All-Star was only 30, causing many to wonder why he decided to call it quits so early. You can understand the shock with James still active at 38. Following Jordan’s retirement in 1993, he embarked on an interesting journey to the MLB, where things didn’t turn out as he might have wanted.
Therefore, he returned to his first love in March 1995 like the prodigal son, winning three more championships and earning two more MVP honors before his final retirement in 2003.
- Magic Johnson
Career Span: 1979-1991
Retirement age: 32
If James announced his retirement today, it would not be the Lakers’ first rodeo. In fact, his own will be expected, while legendary point guard Magic Johnson’s own was not expected. Johnson, one of the best to ever play the game, spent 12 seasons with the Lakers, winning three MVP titles and five championships (after nine Finals appearances).
With things going so well for the Lakers’ point guard, no one expected what came next. He mounted the podium on November 7, 1991, to make two astonishing announcements. Besides telling the world he was retiring, Johnson revealed he was HIV-positive.
Despite a brief comeback during the 1995-96 season, he was done with professional basketball. He later said he regretted retiring immediately after his HIV diagnosis.
- Isiah Thomas
Retirement age: 32
Isiah Thomas is another great who left the game early, but like Johnson, circumstances forced his hand. He struggled with persistent ankles most of his career, but an Achilles injury was the final nail for the Detroit Pistons man. He suffered a torn Achilles during the 1993-94 Season, the only campaign that he did not make an All-Star appearance in his career.
Thomas retired from the NBA after winning two championships for the Pistons and averaging 19.2 points, 9.3 assists, and 1.9 steals per match.
- Brandon Roy
Career span: 2006-2011
Retirement age: 26
The retirement story of Brandon Roy is more sad than surprising. His story is of “what could have been.” Roy made a roaring start to his NBA career with Portland Trail Blazers in 2006, instantly becoming one of the league’s smoothest scorers. By his third season, he was averaging 22.6 points per match.
Then, the injuries arrived and started to ruin a good thing. From the 2009-10 season, Roy’s persistent knee injuries limited his playing time. He eventually called it quits after the 2010-11 campaign.
- Darren Collison
Career span: 2009-2019
Retirement age: 31
Darren Collison is far from a superstar, but he was a decent point guard and solid rotation player. After ten years in the NBA playing for six different franchises, including the Pacers, where he spent his final two seasons, Collison decided to retire. He said he was pursuing his faith and family. Collison was only 31 and surely still had more to give.
Despite coming out of retirement in December 2021 to sign a ten-day contract with the Lakers, he didn’t return to the player he was.