How we cherish the good ones
Most perennially gifted athletes are overly competitive by nature, and what can be mistaken for a tremendous amount of leadership, could also border on sociopath. (Michael Jordan, what? Noooo!!) Many times though, you get athletes of this caliber, both mentally and physically adept compared to their peers, hanging on just way too long. They are gonna take it down to the filter, they want make sure that sponge of talent is realllly wrung out, or any other metaphor you want to use. OR, they could be getting extra money, they know they have a legacy and want to add to it, boost their stats for possible Hall of Fame induction, who knows. Or if you are Vince Carter, who is 43 goddamn years old, it’s totally cool actually.
When I think of certain legends, mostly basketball or football, that jersey they wear is emblazoned in your head. It’s not so much with hockey/baseball as far as the logo is concerned, and the uniforms, but numbers in those sports don’t jump out as much to you. I followed sports a lot more intently in my formative years, and besides my favorite players, I would have trouble rattling off a popular hockey players number, but especially in baseball. The NFL and NBA market their players much more so than those sports, and so do your TV and the media when promoting games (Brady vs, Manning….Next! on NBC!”)
Nonetheless, don’t have to worry about LeBron having that ONE team that he can easily wear for that Hall of Fame Induction….or Kevin Durant having that ONE team, you can just easily identify them with as a transcendent player. Sorry if I sound like an elder millennial tinged with a dash of Gen X, just stay on a goddamn team unless you’re traded. You can just hear the millennial’s getting out their phones, trying to defend their idols. “But Kevin Garnett jumped to the Celtics mid-career! (KG was traded on draft day.) But James Harden! (Traded for a bag of potatoes basically.) Shouldn’t you darn younger millennial’s be anxious somewhere right now, or somethin’?
The NFL isn’t as conducive to trading in general, let alone star players, as the other three major sports are, because of their collective bargaining agreement. So if a highly noted player is ready to hit the market, you might see some big career moves, but a lot of times it’s more in their late prime when there is still a bit of gas in the tank. Think of Peyton Manning on the Broncos, or NOT Emmitt Smith on the Cardinals. Some guys do move mid career, and two good examples are the Bears capturing perennially Pro Bowl Defensive Ends via trade with Julius Peppers back in 2010 and Khalil Mack in 2018.
Legends in their own time
We like our legends on one team because it makes us happy, damnit! Dan Marino. John Elway, John Stockton. More modern examples like Larry Fitzgerald, Tim Duncan, and of course, Kobe Bean Bryant. Like we have said, the one long great career guys on one team is hard to find, and they can’t necessarily control the decisions of their owners, or maybe what their own agent wanted but did not get. But what happens when you have those guys that logged a good 10-12 years and thennnnn, right at the end….they did the hippity hop jump stop to another squad.
The following is a cavalcade of pictures, with fantastic subtitles for your viewing pleasure. It was was picked out with three criteria in mind. Guys who bounced a bunch at the end, “you may have forgotten they wore that jersey for a second”, and their ONE team is seared into your mind. A few guys split in the middle of their careers, but I’m talking being a stalwart for one team, then bouncing around like a lottery ping pong ball at the end.
So without further ado, here are a ton of pictures of legendary players tarnishing their legacy on random teams.
Some Mid Career Jumps
You’re killin’ me, Smalls.