The art of the fake retirement

July 7, 2009          Comments (0)


How many times can someone say they are going to retire?

Retirement in the sports and entertainment industries has become somewhat of a joke.

Jay-Z convinced us that the Black Album was going to be his last album. He’s released 3 albums since his supposed retirement.

Brett Favre announced his retirement from the Green Bay Packers. He has since gone onto play with the New York Jets and after announcing his retirement yet again – is supposedly under contract with the Minnesota Vikings.

Michael Jordan announced his retirement to pursue baseball and came back to win three NBA championships in a row. And then retired again, only to come back and play for the Washington Wizards.

The examples are endless. And the demand you can create if you’re an artist or sports figure is incredible. Especially, if people believe you.

Everyone wanted to see Mike Tyson’s last fight. Or Michael Jackson’s last tour. His planned European tour quickly sold out all 50 dates.

The more demand you can create, the more money you can command. Everyone wants to see your last hoorah!

And that’s why artists have an advantage over athletes when they ‘retire’ and announce one last tour, concert or CD as opposed to one last season.

But money talks for some people! And enough of it will ignite a comeback!

Or, too little of it will force a retirement.

Who can forget Latrell Sprewell’s public outrage. He said, “I have a family to feed” after the Minnesota Timberwolves offered him a 3-year, $21 million contract extension, which was substantially less than what his then-current contract paid him.

He felt that if he held out he’d get what he wanted. Sprewell’s agent, Bob Gist, said his client would rather retire than play for the NBA minimum salary, telling Sports Illustrated, “Latrell doesn’t need the money that badly. To go from being offered $7 million to taking $1 million would be a slap in the face.”

In February of 2008, Sprewell’s home was up for foreclosure and he was forced to sell his yacht.

I don’t blame him. He has a family to feed!

Ultimately, I think suggesting your retirement whether you’re a boxer or a singer or a basketball player is the fastest way to create demand for your services.

But who can trust when someone ‘retires’ these days? And how many times are we going to fall for it as consumers?

We all want that encore!

But sadly, the only time we can be certain we’re not going to get it is when the artist passes away.

If in fact, they really did…

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