By Tom Quiner
Three magicians are poised to fade away.
These three men did not work their magic with a wand, but rather with a golf club, a football, or a basketball.
Los Angeles Laker star player, Kobe Bryant, will retire at the end of this NBA season.
Tiger Woods is recovering from his second back surgery from last year, on top of multiple surgeries throughout his storied career. It is doubtful that he will be able to play in any tournament this year. His game had been in free fall last season. Will he be any good when he eventually returns? Doubtful.
Denver Bronco star player, Peyton Manning, has missed half of this season with a foot injury. When he did play, his performance was a shadow of his former self. Today is the last game of the regular season, and Mr. Manning is on the bench. Will he get in another game this season? Unlikely. Will return next season? Doubtful, but if he does, expectations will be low.
Two of these magicians are 39 years of age, a time when the magic fades away for most professional athletes. Bryant is 37.
Occasionally, an athlete can hang on a little while after they hit the age of 40. Ben Hogan famously comes to mind. So does Barry Bonds, but Mr. Bonds’ remarkable post-forty successes where chemically-enhanced.
These men were among the best ever in their respective sports. Their legacies are secure. We shall miss the precision passing and hurry-up offenses; the booming drives and ridiculously clutch putting; and the scoring machine who once pumped 81 points through the nets in a single game.
As the era fades away, a new crop of talent has replaced them. Will these young upstarts hold a candle to Peyton, Tiger, and Kobe?
Time will tell, but I’m dubious.