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Older Athletes That Rocked Their Sports

The Detroit Shock announced today that they have signed basketball hall of famer and ESPN basketball analyst Nancy Lieberman to a seven-day contract. Lieberman is 50-years-old, and with this contract she will become the oldest player in the WNBA.

Although Lieberman still has the skills to play with some of the WNBA's best, she's not the only older player to rock her professional sport. In fact, there's been quite a few.

There are just some old people that rock! But hey, they can't help it if they're AWESOME. We've given you a run down on some older athletes that have challenged the age guidelines of professional mainstream sports. Educate yourself.

Nancy Lieberman , 50
Known as "Lady Magic" Lieberman is known as one of the greatest figures in women's basketball. She was the youngest basketball player to ever receive an Olympic medal after the team took the silver medal home at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, she was 18. She's not only helped make a place for women's basketball in the sports world, she's helped it evolve, by playing for the league, coaching and being an analyst.

Brett Favre , 39
Although 39 doesn't seem old, it's pretty old for the sport of football. How many 39-year-olds do you know that can still throw a pass down the field and take a tackle by a 400 lb lineman like a champ, then get back up and do it all over again? Not many. After 16 seasons in the NFL, Favre has retired not only once, but twice, and wants to come back for more. He also holds the records for most career NFL touchdown passes (442), most career NFL passing yards (61,655), most career pass completions (5,377), most career pass attempts (8,758), most consecutive starts among NFL quaterbacks (253) and most career victories as a starting quarterback (16). He also hold the record for most NFL interceptions thrown (288), but we'll overlook that one. You're a badass Brett Favre.

Chris Chelios , 46
A defenseman for the Detroit Red Wings, Chelios is currently the oldest active player in the NHL, but that's not slowing him down. He's played for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, and now the Red Wings. He not only holds the record for most games played by an American born player (1,496), he's also only missed going to the playoffs once in his entire NHL career. He must be doing something right.

Cal Ripken Jr ., 48
He spent 20 years in the MLB with the Baltimore Orioles and is still considered one of the best shortstops to ever play the game. He's in the Hall of Fame and is a 19-time MLB All-Star. He played a record 2,632 straight games and played his last game on October 6, 2001.

John McEnroe , 49
With hair like that, how could you NOT be awesome? Known for his skill on the tennis score, and also his incredible temper, McEnroe is one of the oldest players to compete in the sport. In 2006 he became the oldest male player to win a top-level title, when he won the doubles competition at the SAP Open in San Jose in 2006. During his career he won seven Grand Slam singles titles, three at Wimbledon and four at the US Open, nine grand slam men's doubles titles and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title. Most importantly, he's known for his frequent confrontations with tennis authorities and the common use of the phrase, "You cannot be serious!"

David Beckham , 33
Although, 33, doesn't seem old, for soccer, it's pretty much ancient. A sport where most professionals start around the age of 15, most professional soccer players are retired by Beckham's age, but he just keeps on truckin'. He's played for two of Europe's premiere football leagues, Manchester United and Real Madrid, and is currently the highest paid MLS player in history for the LA Galaxy. Plus, he's got a hot wife and his wicked skills inspired a movie "Bend it Like Beckham."

Michael Jordan , 45
Even the NBA refers to him as "the greatest player of all time." He's best known for his ability to dunk from the free throw line, earning him the name of "Air Jordan." He currently holds the records for highest career regular season scoring average with 30.12 points per game. He briefly left the NBA in 1993 to play a season of baseball, but returned in 1995 to the Chicago Bulls. He played until his retirement in 1998, but came out of retirement in 2001, to play for his team the Washington Wizards. He then retired for a final time in 2003. Everyone wants to be like Mike.

Wayne Gretzky , 47
He's head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes now, but ask anyone who Wayne Gretzky is, and there's no doubt, that even someone who knows nothing about hockey will know "The Great One." At the time of his retirement in 1999, Gretzky held forty regular-season records, fifteen playoff records and six All-Star records. He is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season and he is the only NHL player to have his number officially retired. He's often referred to as the "greatest hockey player ever" and regarded as the best player in the history of the NHL.
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