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7 Biggest Player Moves in Sports History

biggest sports moves in history
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Moving is stressful, but trust me, the rewards almost always outweigh the costs if you do it right. If you’re in the middle of planning a move, don’t get down on yourself. You’re not the only one who’s had to endure the hardships of a difficult move. Don’t believe me? Check out this list of the seven biggest moves in sports history, and let me know what you think would’ve been the toughest.

7. LeBron James

It’s July 8th, 2010. LeBron James has scheduled a nationwide primetime television event dubbed, ‘The Decision.’ Of course, Cleveland Cavaliers fans know that LeBron will be returning to Cleveland – why else would he make such a commotion about his announcement?

Wrong.

LeBron announced he’d be taking his talents to South Beach, and the move was underway. Even James didn’t realize what a tough transition it would be, watching his jerseys being burned on live TV back in his home state of Ohio. He got over it though – moving into a plush multi-million dollar mansion in South Florida.

6. Allen Iverson

After winning both Rookie of the Year in 1997 and league MVP in 2001 (along with leading his team, the 76ers, to the NBA Finals), Allen Iverson was on top of the world. But when hard times fell on the team in 2006, Iverson reportedly demanded a trade (something he continues to deny). Sixers Chairman Ed Snider confirmed the trade rumors by stating, “We’re going to trade him. At a certain point, you have to come to grips with the fact that it’s not working.”

Two months later, Iverson was shipped to Denver in exchange for Andre Miller, Joe Smith, and two first-round picks in the 2007 NBA Draft. The blockbuster deal put Iverson, the league’s number two leading scorer at the time in the same lineup with Carmelo Anthony – the league’s leading scorer.  

5. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq played for 6 teams in his illustrious NBA career, but none of his moves were quite as large as when he left L.A. for Miami. After winning back-to-back-to-back championships with the Lakers, Shaq was dealt to the Heat for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, and a first round draft pick.

The move was tough on both the Lakers and Shaq. The Lakers had their eyes set on Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki but couldn’t make a trade happen with Mark Cuban, while Shaq felt betrayed by comments from team management (mostly Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak).

4. Brett Favre

Mr. Green Bay, who signed somewhat of a ‘Lifetime Contract’ (10-years) back in 2001, was slated to retire a Packer in 2008. What actually happened was almost unbelievable. Favre, after announcing his retirement, would go on to change his mind and assert that he would in one way or another be playing football in ’08 – ’09. Meanwhile the Packers had already announced that Aaron Rodgers would be the new starting QB in Green Bay, making the situation even more complicated.

After denying Favre’s release, the Packers finally traded their Hall of Fame QB to the New York Jets on August 7, 2008.

Fun Fact: Favre’s official retirement date was January 17th, 2011

3. LeBron James

Wait…what?

Yes, he’s on the list twice.

As big of a deal as LeBron’s departure from Cleveland was, his return was an even bigger one. After being dubbed ‘The Decision Part 2,’ LeBron announced to Sports Illustrated that he was coming home. Miami fans were sour while Cleveland fans were quick to forgive, wishing they hadn’t burnt so many jerseys back in 2010.   

2. Alex Rodriguez

Rodriguez has also had two major moves in his career: first, leaving Seattle for a $252 million payday in Texas, and second, joining the New York Yankees.

After a trade to Boston was vetoed in 2003, The Yankees managed to trade for A-Rod on February 15, 2004. The deal sent Alfonso Soriano to the Rangers, while Texas agreed to pay $67 million of the $179 million left on Rodriguez’s contract.

1. Wayne Gretzky

Just two hours after Edmonton won the Stanley Cup in 1988, Gretzky learned that the Oilers were planning to trade him. After some back room discussions, ‘The Trade’ was finished. On August 8th, 1988, the Oilers sent Gretzky to Los Angeles, upsetting Canadians across the country. Eventually, time heals all wounds though: Gretzky would receive a four-minute standing ovation upon his first return to Edmonton.

 

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