11. Shaquille O’Neal
By the time he retired, ‘Diesel’ looked like a totally different player from the one who ignited the NBA with the L.A. Lakers. After his relationship with Kobe Bryant soured to the extent the Lakers cut him loose, he moved to Miami where he won another championship with the Heat. However, after this his body steadily declined. That massive frame no longer resembled a charging bear but instead a lumbering tractor.
It’s possible to argue that he should have retired anytime after his season with Phoenix. But he definitely was a shadow of his former self by the time he left Cleveland for the Boston Celtics. Sometimes an athlete has to find for themselves the right time to stop and try not to hang onto their former glories for too long. It’s better to go out when they still matter instead of when everybody says that they’re a liability.