A Lesson in Persistence: The Most Inspirational Sporting Comebacks of All Time

In the hectic, high-pressure world we find ourselves in, we’re all in need of that extra little push or kick now and again in order to get us back on track. Although it’s nice to have family and friends to lean on in our time of need, there is inspiration all around us, not least from some of our favourite sporting stars and events of the past few decades. No matter whether you’re a hardcore sports fan or casual observer, you’re bound to find a story within the sporting landscape which will boost your confidence and inspire you to take on whatever life throws at you. So, without further ado, here are some of our favourite sporting comeback stories.

Michael Jordan

Those unfamiliar with the NBA probably best remember Michael Jordan as the star of the sports comedy film Space Jam. However, on the professional court, Michael Jordan was one of the most talented and marketable stars in NBA history. The American stunned the world when he announced his retirement back in 1993 aged just 30. However, after playing in minor league baseball for a couple of years, Jordan returned to the NBA in 1995 and led the Chicago Bulls to three straight NBA titles from 1996 to 1998, which sealed one of the greatest sporting comeback stories of all time. As it happens, Space Jam 2 is set to be released in cinemas sometime in 2021.

Nigel Benn

This comeback is currently in the process of happening but at 55, Nigel Benn is making a comeback to the boxing ring a full 23 years after his last professional fight. He follows in the footsteps of George Foreman, who regained the heavyweight title back in 1994 aged 45 after retiring a full 17 years earlier. Benn is expected to face the 40-year-old Sakio Bika, a former WBC super-middleweight champion, under the auspices of unheralded British and Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) rather than the BBoC. 

The latest boxing odds have Benn as 7/2 underdog for his comeback fight. If Benn does win aged 55, it will show the world that it’s never too late to right the wrongs of your past, no matter how many years have elapsed.

Paul Scholes

After a 17-year career, which included 676 appearances and ten Premier League titles for Manchester United, Paul Scholes announced his retirement at the end of the 2010-2011 campaign. However, because of an injury crisis in the centre of midfield, Scholes once again donned the red jersey of Manchester United in January 2012. Although the decision was met with scepticism among former players and pundits alike, Scholes led the team to another Premier League title in 2013, taking the trophy from neighbours Manchester City. Both Sir Alex Ferguson and Scholes retired in the following summer and the club haven’t had their names on the trophy since.

Bouncing Back

Although this article simply deals with motivational comeback stories throughout the sporting arena, there are a number of true-life anecdotes floating around the internet which are bound to give you the extra boost you need on a Monday morning, before an exam or whatever it is that you’re dealing with. In a world where celebrity status is more fleeting than ever, recognising the truly inspirational figures amongst us is now more important than ever. And as the aforementioned examples show, you should never give up on your hopes and aspirations, no matter how grandiose.


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