1. Magic Johnson
Retirement Age (Career): 31 (1980-1991)
When Magic announced his retirement just before the '91-'92 season, the sporting world was devastated. In 1991, everyone assumed HIV would rapidly turn into full blown AIDS and ultimately lead to Magic's death. Yeah, we and everyone else were kind of wrong. He was selected by the fans to the 1992 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando amongst resistance from active players, which included teammates. Despite the fear and discrimination, he played and was named the game's MVP. Later that year, Magic was named to the "Dream Team," which allowed him to spread AIDS awareness across the globe. The greatest point guard of all time is still alive and well, sharing that signature smile and enthusiasm for the game with new generations of fans. During an LA Times interview, Magic said, "If I knew what I know now, I wouldn't have retired. But I didn't know that then. And you've just got to go with what happened."