The biggest “coming out of retirement” stories in sports.
BREAKING NEWS UNITED STATES SOCCER FANS. Our beloved number 10 is back. You know who I’m talking about. Only the greatest soccer player to ever wear the USA jersey(unfortunately never the denim ’94 jerseys however). Landon Donovan.
Yes you heard correctly, Landon Donovan has announced his return to professional soccer and the LA Galaxy(with a pretty cool video I might add). After retiring at the end of the 2014 MLS season, many wondered if that would truly be the last time we saw the then 32 year old grace a soccer pitch. Now at 34, does LD have enough in the tank to help the Galaxy win? Now settle down all you “Donovan should have made the 2014 World Cup roster” fanboys, there is NO WAY LD gets a call-up or even a consideration for the US team before he retires for a second time. We all will just have to wait and see what LD can produce after a year and a half out of the game.
Now this story got me thinking. Have any other athletes come out of retirement to continue their playing days? Have they been successful? So after some research and disregarding some hilarious rumors, here are my top five athletes who couldn’t stay away from the game for long:
Honorable Mention: Jeff Gordon
Joining LD as a returning star in 2016, Jeff Gordon jumped back into a race car in July to take over for a concussed Dale Earnhardt Jr. Gordon has competed in five races this season, so the journey continues as to whether or not the 4 time champion can rekindle some of his past success.
Honorable Mention 2: Brett Favre
Who could forget the Brett Favre tug-of-war after he retired from the game of football in 2007? Favre changed his mind about quitting in 2008 and wanted to suit back up with the Green Bay Packers, but there was a problem. Management had already replaced him with Aaron Rodgers. This led to Favre requesting for his rights to be traded to another team and the Packers refused at first. They eventually caved in, trading Favre to the New York Jets. He would play one season with the Jets and two with the Packers’ bitter rivals, the Minnesota Vikings, before retiring for good(maybe?!) in 2010.
5) Roger Clemens
“Rocket” retired at the end of the 2003 MLB season after an illustrious career with the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees. Just months later, he returned to the big leagues with the Houston Astros, where he would win the Cy Young Award in his first season with the team. After two more years at the Astros, he rejoined the Yankees for the 2007 season and retired a happy man. That is until the steroid allegations…
4) Magic Johnson
One of the greatest point guards in NBA history shocked the world in 1991 when he announced that he had tested positive for HIV and would retire immediately. Despite this, he would play in the 1991-92 NBA All-Star game and won the game’s MVP as well as starring for The Dream Team in the 1992 Olympic games. Johnson would go on to work as a commentator and an advocate for HIV research before staging his comeback in 1995 and re-retiring at the end of that season.
3) Mario Lemieux
After being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1993, the two time Stanley Cup champion and three time Hart Memorial Trophy winner officially retired in 1997 after years of treatments and surgeries. However, Lemieux made his comeback, returning to his beloved Pittsburgh Penguins in 2000. He went on to win an Olympic gold medal in the 2002 games and helped the 2005 number one overall draft pick Sydney Crosby(you may have heard of him) settle in at Pittsburgh before permanently retiring in 2006.
2) Michael Jordan
The greatest basketball player of all-time did not only come out of retirement once, but twice. After retiring in 1993 to pursue a career in baseball(good one MJ), he decided to comeback to the Chicago Bulls in 1995. Jordan would lead the Bulls to three straight NBA championships before retiring for a second time. But wait, there’s more! MJ made his second comeback in 2001, but this time with the Washington Wizards. He would play two seasons in Washington before finally retiring for good in 2003.
1) Michael Phelps
Need I say more?
Well that does it for my top athletes to come out of retirement. To finish, I want to put my two cents in about the LD return. He will make an impact off the bench for the Galaxy due to an injured front line, but I can’t see him being a consistent starter for the remainder of his last season…or could there be more to come?
Until next time, goodbye, and remember:
“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Uncle Ben