Best of the Decade: Best Retirement Comeback

D731a86f77059e9fda74c86540dc135a-getty-88971987js036_green_bay_pac_medium

Gold Medal: Brett Favre – 2008, 2009

It was so nice, he did it twice. Brett Favre is a one-of-a-kind athlete, and his recent indecision is something that we’ll probably never see again. In the span of three years, Favre retired twice, played for three different teams -- including his old team’s hated rival -- and didn’t even miss a single game. Few stories have gone on as long as the Favre retirement sagas did in ’08 and ’09, and with his contract running another season, we should expect an Act III to the drama in 2010.

Silver Medal: Michael Jordan – 2001

What’s more intimidating than playing with Michael Jordan? Playing with Michael Jordan when he’s also your boss. That was the case when His Airness made a high-profiled comeback with the Washington Wizards in 2001, while he was also the team’s GM. M.J. stuck around for two seasons in Washington, played better than any 40 year-old NBA player in history, and single-handedly gave the Wizards an enormous shot in the arm attendance-wise. But he couldn’t lift the Wizards to the postseason, and considering the pedigree that Jordan had set in Chicago, many considered his return to hoops a failure.

Bronze Medal: Mario Lemieux – 2000

Mario Lemieux’s comeback from lymphoma was a welcome sight for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not only did his return immediately improve the team record-wise, it went a long way in securing the team financially. Prior to 2000, the Penguins were on the verge of bankruptcy and Lemiuex assumed part-ownership of the team to save it from going under. Lemieux played an additional five seasons, missed the entire 2005 season, and finally wrapped it up in 2006 at the age of 40. More importantly, his boardroom-to-playing-room comeback was an inspiration to Jordan, who did the same thing less than a year later.

Notable runner-ups:

Ricky Williams – 2005

Joe Gibbs – 2004

Junior Seau – 2006, 2008, 2009

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.