Skip to main content

5 Greatest Age-Defying Feats in Sports History

5 Greatest Age-Defying Feats in Sports History

5 Greatest Age-Defying Feats in Sports History

Phil Mickelson became the oldest golfer to win a major last weekend when he won the PGA Championship at the age of 50 years, 11 months, and 7 days. Mickelson's win is one of the most significant age-defying feats in sports history. Here are five that were greater.

5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Becomes First NBA Player to Play 20 Seasons (41 years, 6 months, 19 days)

Abdul-Jabbar took up yoga in the 1970s, and he credits that to lengthening his career. While five players have since played longer, none of them come close to matching his six NBA titles and six MVP awards.

4. Randy Johnson Throws Perfect Game (40 years, 8 months, 8 days)

Nolan Ryan did throw two no-hitters well into his 40s, but the perfect game remains the holy grail of pitching. Johnson is the only quadragenarian to pull that off with a 2-0 Arizona Diamondbacks win over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 18, 2004. Of his 117 pitches, 87 were strikes, and Johnson struck out 13 batters in a game that lasted two hours and 13 minutes.

3. Bobby Allison Wins Daytona 500 (50 years, 2 months, 11 days)

The early generation of NASCAR drivers raced later into their lives than they generally do today, so Allison's feat at the 1988 Daytona 500 will likely never be duplicated. He won the race by a car length over his late son, Davey. Tragically, Allison suffered a career-ending crash that nearly killed him just four months later at Pocono International Raceway and has no memory of his Daytona 500 win.

2. Tom Brady Wins Super Bowl LV (43 years, 6 months, 5 days)

Brady may not yet be one of the 10 oldest players in NFL history, but he is the oldest starting quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl (and was named the game's MVP). The fact that he did it in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after 20 years with the New England Patriots makes this accomplishment even more remarkable.

1. George Foreman Regains Heavyweight Title (45 years, 9 months, 26 days)

After losing his heavyweight title to Muhammad Ali in 1974 and suffering a defeat to Jimmy Young in 1977, Foreman retired and became a minister in Houston. When he needed money to build a youth center, he returned to the ring in 1987 and showed that he was still a viable contender. Foreman lost title fights to Evander Holyfield and Tommy Morrison by decision but got a third shot with new champion Michael Moorer in 1994. Winning on points in the 10th round, Moorer made the mistake of standing in front of "Big George," who dropped him with a one-two combination. The win happened 20 years and a week after Foreman's loss to Ali.

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

(Top photo courtesy of @PGATOUR)