Biggest Sports Retirements of 2011

We're only halfway through 2011 and already some of the biggest names in sports have called it quits. Here's a look at some of the biggest names you'll no longer see chasing championship dreams.

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    Yao Ming

    After an injury-plagued career, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has decided to hang up his high tops. The top pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, Ming averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds-per-game. He only played five games last year after missing the entire 2009-10 season.
    Reuters
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    Shaquille O'Neal

    Shaquille O'Neal retired after the 2010-11 season as one of the greatest NBA players of all time. The top pick in the 1992 NBA draft, Shaq won four championships over his 19 seasons. Shaq averaged 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds-per-game playing for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics.
    Reuters
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    Manny_Ramirez

    Manny Ramirez should have gone down as one of the greatest right-handed hitters ever, but he will forever be looked at as a disappointment. Instead of facing a 100-game suspension for a second positive steroid test, Manny decided to call it quits. (He first tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009.) In five games before his retirement, he only hit .059 for the Tampa Bay Rays. Over his 19-year career, Ramirez hit 555 home runs for the Cleveland Indians, the Boston Red Sox, the Dodgers, the Chicago White Sox and the Rays.
    AP
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    Phil Jackson

    Phil Jackson will go down as the greatest coach in NBA history after he walked away from the game this past season. Jackson coached 11 NBA championship teams with the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, including three 3-peats. He had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant buy into the triangle offense. He also won two titles as a player for the New York Knicks. 
    AP
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    Lance Armstrong

    Lance Armstrong retired from cycling this year for a second time after winning seven Tour de France's from 1999-2005. The cancer survivor is literally trying to keep his name clean as he fights doping allegations. Several former teammates, including Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, have accused Armstrong of taking performance-enhancing drugs while riding.
    AP
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    Jerry Sloan

    Jerry Sloan unexpectedly stepped down as Utah Jazz coach on Feb. 10 after 23 seasons with the team. He coached the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals twice, but both times the Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls. He is the only coach in NBA history to have 1,000 wins with one team.
    AP
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    Brett Favre Football

    Well, we think he's done playing. Brett Favre retired after an injury-and-scandal-plagued season with the Minnesota Vikings. Hoping to come back for one last shot at a Lombardi Trophy, the Vikings finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs. He was also caught up in a sexting scandal with a former New York Jets employee that helped to tarnish his image.
    Reuters
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    Gil Meche

    It usually isn't that big of a deal when a lifetime 84-83 pitcher retires from baseball, but in this case it is. Kansas City Royals pitcher Gil Meche called it quits and walked away from a guaranteed $12 million. Instead of facing shoulder surgery and not playing for a year, Meche believed it was better not to be paid while not playing. Asked why he did it, he told the Associated Press, "I didn't want to go try it again for another season and be the guy making $12 million doing absolutely nothing to help their team."
    AP
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    Gary Sheffield

    Gary Sheffield retired from baseball this year after no team decided to sign him for the 2010 season. Playing for eight teams in 22 seasons, Sheffield hit 504 home runs and won a World Series for the 1997 Florida Marlins.
    AP
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    Gary Williams

    Gary Williams stepped down from his position as the University of Maryland's men's basketball coach after 22 seasons. He won the 2002 national championship and led the Terrapins to the NCAA tournament 14 times. He finished with a record of 668-380.
    AP
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    Andy Pettitte

    New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte hung up his glove after 16 seasons and five world championships. Pettitte will also be remembered as one of the more likable athletes who "cheated." He was named in the 2007 Mitchell Report after being accused of taking performance enhancing drugs. In 2008, he apologized for taking steroids right before spring training started. He is also set to testify against former teammate and friend, Roger Clemens, in his perjury trial. Pettitte finished his career 240-138.
    Reuters
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