Adam Goodes retired as arguably the greatest Swan of all time. Despite his final year being tarnished by the boos of racist fans around the country there is little doubt about the legacy Goodes left on the game and at his club. Goodes is a dual Brownlow Medallist, dual premiership player, four-time All-Australian, member of the Indigenous Team of the Century and represented Australia in the International Rules Series. He is also the Swans games-record holder with 372. In 2014 his community work was recognized when he was named Australian of the Year.
Widely regarded as one of the best footballers in the modern game, Judd has twice won the league's highest individual honour, the Brownlow Medal, and is a dual Leigh Matthews Trophy winner as the AFL Players Association most valuable player. He is also a premiership captain, having captained the West Coast Eagles to the 2006 AFL Premiership. Consistently recognised as one of the game's premier midfielders Judd has been selected in the All-Australian team six times, including as captain in 2008. At a representative level, he played for Australia in the 2002 International Rules Series. He is regarded as a great of two clubs, West Coast and Carlton and finished his career having played 279 games.
Dustin Fletcher just never seemed to age. The Essendon legend, widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders the game had ever seen, made his debut in 1993. Yes, 1993. And he retired in 2015, having played every game for Essendon. All 400 of them. He is just the third player in VFL/AFL history to reach that milestone. Sadly it was his last game. He was a two-time premiership player and two-time All-Australian and possessed one of the most prodigious torpedoes in AFL history. He is without question an Essendon legend.
Love him or hate him there is no denying the numbers. Floyd retired as one of the greatest of all time. Undefeated as a professional and a five-division world champion, Mayweather won twelve world titles and the lineal championship in four different weight classes (twice in the welterweight division). He is a two-time winner of the Ring magazine Fighter of the Year award (1998 and 2007); a two-time winner of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year award (2007 and 2013); and a six-time winner of the Best Fighter ESPY Award (2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014).
Justin Hodges was one of the most devastating centers of his generation and would have been even better if not so injury-prone. The Cairns product debuted for Brisbane in 2000 before moving to the Roosters in 2002. Despite winning a premiership that year he time in Sydney was unfulfilling and he returned to Brisbane under Wayne Bennett in 2005 where he stayed for the rest of his career, winning a premiership there in 2006. He captained the Broncos in his final years there and all up played 251 NRL games. He was also an integral part of the all-conquering Queensland team that won eight series in row.
When people talk of the best batsmen of the last 30 years Sangakkara is rarely named outside Sri Lanka. It is all Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting, Kallis. But a look at the great Sri Lankan’s stats say he deserves to reside among these lofty companions. He is second only to Tendulkar in international runs, with 28,016. His Test average of 57.4 from 134 Tests is staggering. Along with Virender Sehwag he is the only person to have won Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year award twice (2011, 2015). He was also the wicket-keeper and captain of Sri Lanka while carrying a law degree. This is a legend of the game.
Will we ever see the likes of this duo again in rugby? Doubtful. Richie McCaw and Dan Carter have been the backbone and muscle of arguably the greatest All Blacks team of all time. After recently claiming the World Cup this year coach Steve Hansen said McCaw is the greatest All Black of all time with Dan Carter a close second. McCaw and Carter retired from international rugby after 148 and 112 caps respectively. McCaw is the most capped rugby player of all time while Carter is the Test point-scoring record holder.
Groomed from a very young age to lead his country Michael Clarke retired as one of the nation’s best batsmen and most successful captains. Averaging just a tick under 50 over 115 Tests, he lead his country 47 times with a 51.06% win rate. He also won the Allan Border Medal four times, the most by any player except Ricky Ponting who also won it four times. Not always loved by the Australian public he was greatly respected by the way he handled himself in the wake of Phillip Hughes’ death.
At his peak he was the most terrifying bowler on the planet. After some early career hiccups with both form and injury he re-joined the Australia team in 2013-14 and his legend was born. He completely decimated England in the Ashes and then tore through South Africa to cement his place in the side. The left-arm quick finished his career with 313 Test wickets, a World Cup, an Allan Border Medal in 2014 and was also named the International Cricket Council’s Test Player of the Year after those exploits, to add to the ICC Player of the Year honour he received in 2009.
Steve Nash never quite had the profile of a Kobe or a LeBron during his playing days but there is no denying he was an absolute legend of the NBA. The Canadian point guard played with the Suns, the Mavs and the Lakers and his list of achievements is as long as your arm. He is a two time NBA MVP (2005, 2006), an eight-time NBA All-Star and a three-time NBA First Team player. He scored 17,387 points (14.3ppg) and had 10,335 assists (8.5apg).