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Tuesday, January 8, 2002
Updated: August 10, 1:52 PM ET
Readers' list: Who should hang it up

From the Page 2 mailbag

As Don Meredith used to sing, "Turn out the lights, the party's over."

OUR TOP 10
Here's how Page 2 editors ranked sports personalities who should hang it up:

1. Evander Holyfield
2. Bud Selig & Donald Fehr
3. Pat Riley
4. Karl Malone
5. Mark Messier
6. Patrick Ewing
7. Anna Kournikova
8. Doug Flutie
9. The entire dysfunctional Portland Trail Blazer family
10. Mike Tyson

Honorable mentions: Chris Chandler, Hakeem Olajuwon, Eric Lindros, Alonzo Mourning, Anthony Mason, Emmitt Smith, Terrell Davis, Mark Jackson (Knicks), John Rocker & Carl Everett, Don King, Chuck Knoblauch, the Bee Gees, the Rolling Stones, Sylvester Stallone, Anne Robinson, Bill Clinton, Gary Condit, Stockwell Day, Breckin Meyer, "Friends," music videos, "Survivor," Tom Green

This week, Page 2 listed the sports personalities we believe should get out before they do more damage. More damage to them, us and the memories we have of any good work they did.

After checking out Page 2's list of the top 10 sports personalities who should call it quits, more than 1,000 readers sent in their choices. Examine their picks below and then vote in the poll at right to crown the No. 1 sports personality who should hang it up.

1. Patrick Ewing (88 letters)
At least Karl Malone has been spotted smiling while he played the game. Ewing looked unhappy when he came into the league, when he lost, when he won. At least back then, it would intimidate opposing centers. No such luck anymore.

Patrick wants to play for that elusive NBA championship. I think he should be happy with the two Olympic golds, three Final Fours, one NCAA title, the adventure that was his tenure with the New York Knicks. Ultimately, Ewing will have to come to terms with the fact his legacy will go down as the most dominant center in college ball. Patrick has earned his way for 15 years afterward, but his glory years ran out with his NCAA eligibility.
John Chacko
Germantown Md.

Watching Ewing lumber down the court only to realize the teams have already gone to the other side is embarrassing and unsettling at the same time. Ewing had a great career (10 years ago) and really needs to hang it up before he's not even good enough for the WNBA.
Phil
Pueblo, Colo.

I mean, come on ... can his knee pads get any bigger? He almost looks like a tall football player with all the pads he wears. I was watching Orlando play the other night and I just can't believe that this guy is still playing. Remember when he used to guard Mark Eaton, Mike Giminski and Kevin Duckworth? That's just old.
Kevin
Jacksonville, Fla.

2. Eric Lindros (64 letters)
Eric Lindros
Eric Lindros still has immense talent, but one hit could alter his life, not just his career.
He is now officially the human equivalent to a bobblehead doll.
Chip Shiflett
Baltimore

I know he can still play the game, but I'm afraid that if he continues to play he might not be able to do much of anything after a while. I mean, when a finger to the forehead causes a concussion -- come on! What's he going to do? Skate with pillows tied to his head?
Jennifer Canning
Bainbridge Island, Wash.

3. Michael Jordan (36 letters)
Enough already! As much fun as it is watching him score 25 by going 7-for-34 from the field and 11-for-16 from the line, this guy has got to go. David Stern -- get over him! Michael -- get over yourself.

With the exception of the 76ers-Bucks series, the NBA was finally beginning to become less predictable than the WWF once again. Now hard sneezes in his vicinity are starting to send Mike back to the line.

Everyone had moved on -- heck, ESPN had even managed to fill that gaping hole in programming. Sunday Conversations that used to feature MJ's laughable attempts to appear humble in the face of adoring ESPN anchors.

Perhaps he can use the extra time on the range making that "single-digit handicap" that he claims look a little less ludicrous when you uncork that "swing" in celebrity tourneys.
Andy Ketterson
Omaha, Neb.

You asked us "You know those folks who hang around too long after the party?" Mr. Jordan is the guy who leaves the party at midnight, only to return with a just-as-noisy group of people in tow as you are trying to clean up the half-finished beer cans and "close up" for the night.
Joe
Alexandria, Va.

4. Emmitt Smith (31 letters)
Emmitt Smith
Emmitt Smith has rushed for 16,187 yards in 12 seasons with the Cowboys, second to Walter Payton (16,726).
He's not in it to win it any longer. The only reason he's around anymore is to break Payton's record. I'm sorry, Emmitt, you're no Walter Payton. You're the beneficiary of the greatest offensive line in the history of the NFL.

Emmitt getting the all-time rushing yards record is like Albert Belle getting the all time home run record. Puuhlease!
Greg P.
Santa Cruz, Calif.

I have always been a big Barry Sanders fan. It was unbelievable to watch him do the things he did. Especially with a rarely acceptable passing game, and a never acceptable line. I was disappointed when he retired without breaking the record, but I respected his decision.

Now, we get to watch Emmitt Smith limp to the finish line with a horrible team and break the record. Smith has so many yards because he had monster-size holes to run through due to the great offensive line he had through much of his career. Sanders would have been worthy of breaking Payton's record. He chose to stop short because he didn't want to play anymore. Smith seems to continue only for the record; he certainly isn't playing to win.
Ken Hines
Columbus, Ohio

5. Bud Selig (28 letters)
He has proven he cannot only run a mediocre baseball franchise but also turn the best sport in the world into a laughing stock. The NFL continues to show MLB the correct way to run a league, but commissioner Bud seems too thick-headed (or is it arrogant?) to take notes.

Bud, you claim to care about the baseball fans. If so, step aside and allow MLB to find a commissioner who will be able to correctly identify and fix the problems that truly plague the sport.
Anthony Messineo
Hicksville, N.Y.

How is it that a person who is in charge of a major professional sports league can not afford to buy himself a decent toupee!! He is an embarrassment to baseball and he needs to go far, far away forever.
Steve Harper
La Habra, Calif.

6. Karl Malone (23 letters)
Karl Malone
Karl Malone should know that what's best for Karl Malone is for Karl Malone to quit.
"Karl Malone has called this press conference to announce the retirement of Karl Malone. Karl Malone has given the Jazz everything Karl Malone can give over the past 17 years, and it's time for Karl Malone to retire. It's a situation where Karl Malone has got to do what Karl Malone has got to do."

If only.
Cal
Salt Lake City

7. Rickey Henderson (19 votes)
Dear Rickey Henderson,

Last season, I had the pleasure of watching you break records held by Babe Ruth (all-time walks) and Ty Cobb (all-time runs), along with joining the 3,000-hit club. You're my favorite player in the history of the game and I'd rather see you bow out now and join Gwynn, Ripken and McGwire in the greatest Hall of Fame class of the modern era than see you try to hang on as the 25th man on a roster.

Regards,
Aaron J. Cameron
San Diego

8. Mark Messier (18 votes)
Mark Messier
Mark Messier should not let his career deteriorate like Paul Coffey's.
In all of North American pro sports, I don't think there's a better example of an athlete who has lingered long past his prime and should just hang it up than Mark Messier.

Maybe he just doesn't know what else to do with his life or maybe he's dead-set on trying to become the only NHLer with as many total points as Gretzky has assists; but whatever the reason, it's just painful to watch. Mess should take a clue from the sad and humiliating way that Paul Coffey limped out of the league and get out of the race before he's forcibly put out to pasture.
Kurt Drain
Chicago

9. Jim Mora (12 letters)
I would like to throw a shout out to Jim Mora. If there is no crying in baseball, there is definitely no crying in football ... unless you have a bone sticking through your skin. His constant blubbering and irrational outbursts are a sure sign of age creeping up.

He should leave before he is just a pathetic mess.
Jeff Waskiewicz
Cumberland, R.I.

10. Pat Riley (10 letters)
Riley, you Gordon Gecko look-alike, the '80s are over, just like your coaching career.
Ben P
Atlanta

Honorable mention
  • Vinny Testaverde
  • Mike Tyson
  • Mike Morgan
  • Jerry Jones
  • Ryan Leaf
  • Anna Kournikova
  • Joe Paterno
  • Evander Holyfield
  • John Stockton