The biggest news in the sports world last week was that six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady signed a two-year contract to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That’s right, after 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, Brady is switching teams.
It’s going to be strange to see Brady wearing the red and black of Tampa Bay instead of the blue and silver of New England. But a lot of all-time greats such as Brady have played for more than one team during their careers. Let’s look at sports history:
In baseball, there is probably no bigger name than Babe Ruth. The Bambino changed the game forever in the 1920s and ’30s with his towering home runs.
Most sports fans know that the Boston Red Sox traded Ruth early in his career to the New York Yankees. But at the end of his career, the Babe signed with the Boston Braves and played one sad season with that team.
Starting pitchers are super important in baseball. Think of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin for the Washington Nationals. But even great pitchers bounce from team to team.
For major league pitchers who began their careers after 1945, there have been 11 who have won more than 300 games. All 11 pitched for more than one team. And nine of those all-time greats pitched for four or more teams.
It’s the same in basketball. Most kids know LeBron James is playing for his third team. But Michael Jordan, who won six National Basketball Association (NBA) championships with the Chicago Bulls, played his last two seasons with our own Washington Wizards.
Wilt Chamberlain may have been the most unstoppable player in NBA history. The 7-foot-1-inch center played for three teams and was traded twice (once in the middle of the season!).
It looks as if Alex Ovechkin may play his entire career for the Washington Capitals as he chases Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 National Hockey League (NHL) career goals. (Ovechkin is at 706 goals.)
But don’t be too sure. The great Gretzky played for four teams during his 20-year career. In fact, all seven players who are ahead of Ovechkin on the all-time goals list skated for multiple teams. Jaromir Jagr (766 goals) played for nine teams.
Why is there so much moving around even among the greatest athletes? One quality that great athletes share is they don’t give up. They believe they can get one more great season out of their aging bodies.
Brady will be 43 on his next birthday. (August 3 — it’s my birthday, too!) There has never been a top-flight, 43-year-old NFL quarterback.
But Brady believes he can do it. And that never-give-up attitude is one of the things that makes him Tom Brady.