OTHER NOTABLE SPORTS COMEBACKS
Earvin (Magic) Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Mario Lemieux aren't the only athletes to stage successful returns to sports. Here are a few others:
* Gordie Howe, a 25-year veteran of the Detroit Red Wings, retired from the National Hockey League in 1971 only to return two years later to play alongside his sons Marty and Mark with the World Hockey Association's Houston Aeros. He was the WHA's most valuable player in 1974, scoring 100 points. Howe came back to the NHL in 1979 after the WHA folded and retired for good in 1980 at age 52.
* Greg LeMond was nearly killed by a shotgun blast in a hunting accident, but returned to win the Tour de France bicycle race in 1989 and the Tour DuPont in 1992.
* Monica Seles was stabbed in 1993 with a knife by a deranged tennis fan, but after a two-year layoff has reached the US Open finals and won the Australian Open in her return to Grand Slam tournaments.
* Niki Lauda, an Austrian Formula One driver, was severely burned in a 1976 crash. He returned to the sport the next year and not only won the world's driving championship but stopped during one race to pull a fellow driver out of a burning car.
* George Foreman has come back twice during a boxing career that now spans 28 years. An Olympic gold medalist in 1968, he won the world heavyweight title for the first time in 1973 and twice has reclaimed the title following retirements, including last year's startling victory over Michael Moorer.
* Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title in 1967 after declaring himself a conscientious objector on religious grounds during the Vietnam War He returned in 1970 and won some of history's greatest heavyweight fights to regain the crown.
* Nancy Lopez, like other women, has had to come back athletically after giving birth. She's taken maternity leave from the pro golf tour three times, restaking her claim to being the No. 1 player once in 1985. She remains a threat to win on any given weekend even today.