NASCAR's Gordon tries to win championship in career finale
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) Jeff Gordon is trying to achieve what few sports greats have done before - win a championship in his final season. A surefire future Hall of Famer, Gordon can clinch his fifth career NASCAR Sprint Cup championship on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Here are some other all-time elite athletes who said goodbye by going out on top with a title.
John Elway. Denver Broncos quarterback. Jan. 31, 1999.
Elway was named Super Bowl MVP in his final game, closing his career by leading the Broncos to a 34-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl. He was 18 of 29 for 336 yards and ran and threw for a touchdown and sparked Denver to its second straight championship.
David Robinson. San Antonio Spurs center. June 15, 2003.
Robinson wrapped up a 14-year career with his second NBA championship with the Spurs. Robinson had 13 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks in the clincher against the New Jersey Nets.
Bill Russell. Boston Celtics center. May 5, 1969.
Russell was 35 when he grabbed 21 rebounds in Boston's 108-106 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Final. Russell retired with his 11th championship in 13 seasons.
Ray Bourque. Colorado Avalanche defenseman. June 9, 2001.
Bourque failed to win a championship in two decades chasing the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins. With Bourque's career winding down, Boston traded him to the Colorado Avalanche and the highest-scoring defenseman in NHL history won the Cup in his final game after 1,612 regular season and 214 playoff games.
Pete Sampras. Tennis. Sept. 8, 2002.
Sampras won his final Grand Slam title in his final match, defeating rival Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 for his fifth U.S Open championship. Sampras never played again in an ATP tournament.
Joe DiMaggio. New York Yankees outfielder. Oct. 10, 1951.
Joltin' Joe won the last of his nine World Series championships when the Yankees beat the New York Giants 4-3 in Game 6. DiMaggio homered in the Series and walked away a winner at just 36 because injuries had slowed him down.
American Pharoah. Horse. Oct. 31, 2015.
American Pharoah capped his spectacular career with a victory in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland. Pharoah won nine times in 11 races and his sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes made him the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.