espnW: Jerry Seinfeld
On this day in 1998, the final episode of the iconic TV sitcom "Seinfeld" aired on NBC after nine side-splitting seasons. In honor of the classic show's departure, here are five memorable exits in sports.
1. Lou Gehrig: After 17 legendary seasons with the New York Yankees, "The Iron Horse" was forced to retire after being diagnosed with a disease since named after him. On July 4, 1939, he addressed the Yankee Stadium crowd and called himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth" in a speech for the ages.
2. Pat Summitt: Less than a year after disclosing her diagnosis of early onset dementia, the winningest college basketball coach in history announced she would be stepping down as head coach at Tennessee. She passed the torch -- and whistle -- to her longtime friend and assistant Holly Warlick during her retirement press conference on April 19, 2012.
3. Andre Agassi: After announcing his retirement plans during the summer of 2006, the eight-time Grand Slam champion entered the U.S. Open knowing it would be his last tournament. Despite suffering from chronic injuries, Agassi beat his first two opponents and advanced to the third round, where he lost to Benjamin Becker 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5. Agassi received a long standing ovation from the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium. He tearfully spoke to the crowd and gave an emotional thank you to the fans after the match.
4. Mike Schmidt: The Philadelphia Phillies third baseman struggled to speak through his tears as he announced his imminent retirement during the 1989 season. Schmidt, who played all 18 of his major league seasons in Philadelphia, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.
5. Brett Favre: Shortly after the Green Bay Packers lost in overtime of the NFC championship game, Favre said he "had nothing left to give" in an emotional retirement announcement in March of 2008. A month later he expressed he was having second thoughts and he famously unretired to join the New York Jets in August. After another near-retirement, Favre joined the Minnesota Vikings and officially retired after the 2010 season. Not that anyone believed him.
In honor of actor and Los Angeles Lakers superfan Jack Nicholson's 77th birthday today, we salute five of our other favorite celebrity sports fans.
1. Spike Lee: The legendary director might love the New York Knicks more than he does making movies. A fixture at Madison Square Garden, Lee even wrote a book about his fandom called "Best Seat in the House" in 1997.
2. Ashley Judd: The actress and Kentucky native grew up watching Wildcats basketball with her father and uncle and claims her passion for the team has been passed down through generations. The Kentucky graduate regularly attends games and often appears on sports talk shows to discuss her love for the Wildcats.
3. Billy Crystal: The comedian and actor's lifelong devotion to the New York Yankees was rewarded with a one-day contract during spring training in 2008. He struck out in his one at-bat against the Pittsburgh Pirates but called the experience "the greatest thing ever." Frequently spotted at Yankee Stadium, Crystal even directed the TV movie "61*" about Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle racing to break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record in 1961.
4. Ben Affleck: The Boston native often returns to his hometown to cheer on the Red Sox at Fenway. Affleck's wife, actress Jennifer Garner, has even said Affleck would not have married her had the team not won the World Series in 2004 because he would have considered her a jinx after the two attended a World Series game together.
5. Jerry Seinfeld: The comedian is such a dedicated New York Mets fan, he worked his loyalty into his classic television show. With multiple references and an epic Keith Hernandez storyline, Seinfeld put his fandom on full display. Today, he regularly attends games and even occasionally calls into a local sports-talk radio station as "Jerry from Queens" to talk about the team. In 2010 and again in 2013, he helped call games with Hernandez on SportsNet New York.