By Ray Boyd
PHILADELPHIA, (CBS) — Every city has its sports heroes. Most cities also have to go through the pain of watching that hero walk away. However, they don’t all get to experience the feeling of their star coming home.
On Friday, LeBron James gave that feeling to Cleveland. After seven years with the Cavs, James took his talents to South Beach, won two rings, and is now coming home. The joy that is being felt in Cleveland is enormous. Let’s take a look at some of the other major returns in sports history prior to James’.
Allen Iverson Comes Back To Philly:
The Sixers parted ways with Allen Iverson during the 2006 season. Iverson defined the Sixers for a decade, but losing and a lack of professionalism saw that relationship fold. Iverson went on to play some decent seasons in Denver, but as his skills diminished so to did his value around the league. The Sixers still saw the value. Whether that value was in tangible results on the court or in the seats, there was something special about Allen Iverson returning to the Sixers in 2009-10.
Ken Griffey Jr. Returns To Seattle:
Like Iverson, Griffey spent a decade in Seattle before leaving. Griffey grew up in Seattle as he began his career there as a mere 19 year old. He forced a trade to Cincinnati in 1999, and while still productive, he was never quite the same player. Griffey returned to Seattle in 2009-10, but his final season in Seattle was the worst statistically of his career.
Mark Messier’s Two Stints In New York:
Mark Messier helped to deliver a title to the New York Rangers in 1994. The win broke a 54-year dry spell for the franchise and Messier became an icon when he guaranteed a win in Game six of that year’s Eastern Conference Finals when trailing in the series. Messier left the team in 1997, but returned in 2000 to play four more seasons on Broadway. Injuries defined the last four years of his Hall of Fame career.
Michael Jordan Back In Chicago:
Perhaps the return that rivals James’ the most is Michael Jordan’s return to Chicago. Jordan played for the Bulls from 1984-93 and retired from the Bulls on the heels of three consecutive NBA titles. Jordan left to pursue a career in professional baseball. His father and him had always discussed Jordan one day playing baseball and following his passing, Jordan was inspired to give it a try. A season in the minors was enough for Jordan who returned to the Bulls in 1995 to embark on another three-peat for the Bulls.
Willie McCovey Returns To The Giants:
There’s something to be said about players that have statues outside their team’s venue. Willie McCovey has that and more in San Francisco. The slugger also is the namesake of McCovey Cove where a number of home run bombs have ventured. McCovey was a Giant from 1959-73. He left and played for the Padres and Athletics before returning in 1977. McCovey wasn’t quite the player he was in his second stint, but he proved to be a mentor in the clubhouse and hit his 500th homerun in 1978 with the team it all started with.
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